Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winter birding

Few things get me more excited than being able to emerse myself in the rhythm of the year. Living in New England as I do, I am especially blessed with distinct seasons, each with their own characteristics. Friends who are less enamored of cold climates than I cannot understand how I can possibly live here, but in truth I love winter just as much as any other season. This is in part because the natural world takes on a character all of its own. This is especially true for the birds here. Rather than being devoid of birds as most of our summer residents head south to warmer climates, New England and most of the northern tier of states become the winter home for a wide assortment of birds that move down here from Canada.

But no two years are ever alike. Some years, we see few of these winter migrants; in other years, they are thick as warblers in the summer. Which is why I was so please to see this posting on the VTBIRD discussion list the other day ...

"As many already know PINE SISKINS are waging a very large irruption from Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Ontario, and from Maine south to Georgia already.

"Certainly an invasion of this size has not been seen in many years. An impressive and widespread WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL invasion has also materialized with modest numbers reported at many of the same NE areas as the siskins with a few RED CROSSBILLS mixed in here and there as well.

"PURPLE FINCHES and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES are also moving in these same areas in good numbers.

"COMMON REDPOLLS also appear to be starting to move in large numbers as reported from Quebec and in lesser numbers at Whitefish Pt. in Michigan.

PINE GROSBEAKS and EVENING GROSBEAKS are showing signs of making at least a small push too."

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! My back yard will be coming to life again, and I get to play one more time with the Rhythm of Life.

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