Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Finch-less

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird identification, Bird migration, Bird sightings Updated: December 16, 2013 - 1:30 PM

Winter finch species, as predicted, are not to be seen so far this winter. Well, a few perhaps, but not many. Certainly not in the Duluth area. The Duluth Christmas Bird Count (CBC) this past weekend found no Pine Grosbeaks, no redpolls, no Pine Siskins, and no crossbills of either species (Red or White-winged). That might be a first. Even if finches don't make it as far south as the metro area, at least a few would be expected in Duluth.

Several weeks ago a Canadian birder offered his annual prediction of finch movement south from northern Canada. He said, in essence, there would be little if any; food would be plentiful in the north. It looks like he was right. The source gathers his information from various sources throughout eastern Canada and Ontario.

Christmas Bird Counts, in case they are new to you, involve a day-long census of bird species seen within a circle 13 miles in diameter. The starting point is the same each year. The date of the event must fall between dates chosen by the National Audubon Society, event sponsor and source of summaries of counts throughout the country. CBCs have been annual events for decades. Comparison of count totals for this species or that, year to year, offer information on the population status of those species.

More than two dozen CBCs are conducted in Minnesota each year by volunteers.

Below, a Pine Grosbeak, one of the reasonably expected winter finches not seen in Duluth during its 20134 CBC.

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