Date: 11/30/18 9:12 am From: Tim Spahr <tspahr44...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] notes on winter finches
With the finch irruption in full swing, I figured I'd take a minute to discuss their feeding habits a bit. It may help folks locate some of these birds in their local patches.
Right now in the Marlborough area there are tons of fruiting trees (crabapples, mostly) that are just loaded with food for Pine Grosbeaks. As winter progresses trees like this, often in industrial parks and other open areas, should be searched for both Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, and Bohemian Waxwings. During the 2012/2013 invasion Pine Grosbeaks were seen in quite a few locations like this, including at gas stations and large parking lots.
Red Crossbills currently are enjoying a bumper crop of white pine cones in the Sharon area. I looked at a few of my local patches (Upton State Forest and Desert Natural Area) and did not find either cones or crossbills. It seems many of the white pine patches that have a good cone crop from southern MA all the way to New York very near the coast are holding crossbills. In your travels should anyone notice a big white pine cone crop let me know! I'd love to search these for crossbills. Also Norway Spruces should be monitored, as later in the season the crossbills will shift to these trees when the white pines are exhausted. In my local areas in Marlborough there are some Norways just loaded with cones.
When all else fails keep those feeders stocked. Many of the winter finches will show up at your thistle or sunflower seed feeders.