Big January – Additional Photo’s

11 02 2009

It seems like the story of this years Big January was the story of winter finches rather than rarities. It’s been a decent couple of years for them with Pine Grosbeaks, Redpolls, Red Crossbills and Bohemian Waxwings evident last winter and this winter the tale has been of Pine Siskins (sometimes in their hundreds at feeders), White-winged Crossbills and a smattering of Redpolls (I even got lucky enough to add them to my yard list).

The first sign of Pine Siskins were massive movements tallied at hawk watches across the state in fall, however it appeared as if a second major push occurred in winter, bringing many thousands of these birds into the state and onto peoples feeders. The other major flight this year was of White-winged Crossbills. Although much harder to come across these birds have been reported up and down the state and have probably been no easier to find than at Sherwood Island State Park (where Renee took the attached photo).

It was cool to stumble on these flocks myself and to get to see them happily feeding and chirruping away to each other – like many of their northern brethren they seem to often have little fear of your average birder and on one occasion at Sherwood they allowed me such close approach that I could have almost just reached out to grab one.

Annette sent me this cool picture of a Crossbill at her feeder, a pretty rare occurrence for a bird that tends not to regularly frequent them (although I have seen a few feeder pictures of this species this year). My guess would be that lone birds are more likely to approach a feeder especially if they have joined a mixed flock that is using them.

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