Mariton: Winter Finches

October 17, 2012

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Pine Siskin at feeder

We are experiencing an eruption of some of the winter finches.  Pine Siskins in particular are frequenting local bird feeders.    Whether this will be as big a Pine Siskin year as we had in 2008-2009 is still to be seen, but forecasts predict a good year for winter finch sightings.  Unfortunately, the drought in the much of North America has hit crops (including bird seed) hard, so expect prices to go up considerably this winter.

Female Purple Finch

I am also seeing Purple Finches at the feeder.  I confess, I originally thought that this was a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak that was staying late.  Something didn’t look right about the beak, and fortunately someone had a guide book that showed the white eye-stripe on the female Purple Finch.  (My guide book, doesn’t show the distinctive stripe.)

Finally, I am also seeing Red-breasted Nuthatches at the feeders.

On the Tuesday Walk we saw the above species, plus lots of White-throated Sparrows and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  The breezes carried several raptors overhead, including an immature Bald Eagle, and several Red-tailed Hawks.  It was a good morning.