Finch Invasion Year?

Whether or not Winter 2008-2009 is “officially” an invasion year for winter finches can be left to the experts. But northern Illinois has been inundated with beautiful birds from the far north.

Pine Siskins have been so numerous the resident House Sparrows have been delegated to the front bushes, forbidden from the backyard.

Here we have one Pine Siskin and one Common Redpoll sharing a thistle sock {digiscoped}
Common Redpoll & Pine Siskin

Common Redpolls are outnumbering Dark-eyed Juncos nearly 3:1 and there have been reports of Hoary Redpolls throughout the Chicagoland area. (We have yet to find any).

Common Redpoll {digiscoped}
Common Redpoll

With so many redpolls, there’s bound to be a squabble over seed {digiscoped}
Common Redpolls & Pine Siskin

Crossbills seem to be everywhere, the Reds being much more camera shy than the White-wingeds.

White-winged Crossbill
White-winged Crossbill

Thus far, this has been an excellent winter for birding. Now if we can just get an Evening Grosbeak…

14 thoughts on “Finch Invasion Year?

  1. I will never forget the winter of 1987-88. We had dozens of Evening Grosbeaks lined up across the length our our deck in Lk. Tomahawk, WI and could barely keep up with feeding black oil sunflower seeds. I haven’t seen one since!

  2. I can attest to the finch irruption. We’ve had Pine Siskins at our feeders here in southeast Ohio for the very first time this year. I’m waiting for some Redpolls to make their way over to our feeders, too, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  3. I don’t know anything about birds and most of the birds I see on the west side of Chicago are pigeons so your blog is an eye opener. Nice work with the camera.

  4. Wisconsin Birdwatcher – Evening Grosbeaks are very high on the wish list right now… can’t wait to see one!!

    Heather – I was amazed at how similar looking the redpolls are to Pine Siskins… at least from the back view. But this is the first year they’ve been at our feeders in abundance.

    Lana – sweet! They seem to be everywhere!!

    Mon@rch – glad to share. Gotta love how random birding can be! Sure makes it loads of fun.

    MrBrownThumb – thank you very much! Chicago-area has some pretty good birding spots but yes, in the city there is an overabundance of pigeons but they do attract Peregrine Falcons. Once you find a good place for birds, it is amazing at how many

  5. Great captures of the Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls Eddie! We are having a bumper crop here in Northern California too. And the White-winged Crossbill is quite the bonus.

    I totally concur with the randomness of birding. It makes it even more interesting and challenging!

  6. I just had a brownheaded cowbird in my back yard and have never seen one. Is this bird common in the Fingerlakes Region of Upstate NY?

  7. We had huge numbers of redpolls here in the Twin Cities. I had 50 to 60 consistently along with some pine siskins. I was seeing pine siskins up till just recently. I think a pair stayed and reproduced. I have two friends with huge feeder capacity that had flocks of 500 each.

    John Hamer

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