About a month ago we were pontificating the possibilities of an irruption of winter finches. We had come up with a general feeling like this year would be great for birds like grosbeaks, redpolls, crossbills, and more. Then recently on the Illinois Birder’s Forum we read a wonderful post along the same lines as our predictions.
This grosbeak will irrupt south of the breeding range because crops on native mountain-ashes (rowan berries) are generally poor in northeastern Ontario and across the boreal forest.
Common and Hoary Redpolls
There will be a big flight of redpolls into southern Ontario and bordering United States. Seed crops on white birch, yellow birch and alder are very poor in most of Ontario. Expect redpolls at bird feeders this winter.
Large southward irruptions occur when cone crop failures span much of Canada.
This grosbeak will irrupt south of the boreal forest this fall because tree seed crops are generally very poor in northeastern Ontario and western Quebec.
They have been moving south since mid-June presumably because of the poor cone crop in central Canada. Almost all Red-breasted Nuthatches will depart Ontario’s boreal forest by late fall…
The poor crop of native mountain-ash (rowan berries) in much of northern Ontario will cause Bohemians Waxwings to wander south and east this winter. Watch for them eating buckthorn berries and crabapples…
Gray Jay and Boreal Chickadee
They are moving in northeastern Quebec east of Tadoussac along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. These movements could extend to southern Ontario and northeastern states.
If red-backed vole numbers decline as they often do in association with deer mice, there will be a strong flight of Northern Saw-whet Owls this fall.
Since we live in northern Illinois, these birds are often hard to come by in our area so it will be interesting to see how true the predictions are. There has been a lot of odd bird activity recently, including a Clark’s Nutcracker, so we will be on the lookout, especially during our Christmas Bird Counts!