[CT Birds] Fwd: [BIRDCHAT] Winter Finch Forecast 2009-2010

htg1523 at att.net htg1523 at att.net
Tue Sep 22 11:29:20 EDT 2009

To add to  Bill Banks posting of the winter Finch forecast

I returned from 5 days in the Ct Lakes region of Northern New Hampshire this 
past saturday.The cone crop is heavy there and I saw a small group of WW 
Crossbills in Black Spruce trees on friday.
Hank Golet
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <semismart9 at aol.com>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:17 PM
Subject: [CT Birds] Fwd: [BIRDCHAT] Winter Finch Forecast 2009-2010

> Here is the Winter Finch Forecast for those who do not read all of 
> Birdchat.
> Bill Banks
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jean Iron <jeaniron at SYMPATICO.CA>
> Sent: Sat, Sep 19, 2009 9:27 pm
> Subject: [BIRDCHAT] Winter Finch Forecast 2009-2010
> General Forecast: The theme this winter is there will be no major finch 
> irruptions outside their normal ranges. Finch numbers will be low and 
> thinly distributed or absent in southern and northeastern Ontario and 
> Quebec, where seed crops are poor. Higher numbers of finches should be 
> attracted to much better cone crops in northwestern Ontario and west into 
> northern Saskatchewan, the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland, and 
> northern New England States.?
> ?
> Key Finch Trees: The key tree species in Ontario's boreal forest 
> triggering finch movements and distribution are white and black spruces, 
> white birch, and mountain-ashes. South of the boreal forest in the mixed 
> coniferous/deciduous forest region, white pine and hemlock are additional 
> key finch trees. Other trees play a lesser role in finch movements, but 
> often buffer main seed sources. These include tamarack, balsam fir, red 
> pine, white cedar, alders, and yellow birch.?
> ?
> Tree Seed Crops: Spruce cone crops are poor in central Ontario such as 
> Algonquin Park and in northeastern Ontario and Quebec. However, spruce 
> crops are good to excellent in the boreal forest north of Lake Superior 
> and west into Saskatchewan. Spruce cone abundance is lower in Alberta and 
> eastern Rocky Mountains, Yukon and Alaska, but is excellent in some high 
> spruce zones of central British Columbia. East of Quebec, spruce crops are 
> good to excellent in much of Eastern Canada including the island of 
> Newfoundland. Heavy spruce crops are also reported in the northern New 
> England States. The white pine cone crop is poor in central Ontario such 
> as Algonquin Park and fair to good elsewhere in the province, but spotty. 
> White pine crops are heavy in New Hampshire. The hemlock crop is almost 
> zero in the province. The white birch crop is poor in central and 
> northeastern Ontario and Quebec, but improves westward in Ontario, 
> becoming very good in Saskatchewan. Birch seed supplies are lower in 
> Alberta and Alaska. The mountain-ash (rowan berry) crop is excellent 
> across most of the boreal forest in Canada, including the island of 
> Newfoundland where it is called dogberry.?
> ?
> Individual finch forecasts below apply mainly to Ontario, but neighboring 
> provinces and states may find the forecast applies to them. An irruptive 
> raptor and three irruptive passerines are also discussed.?
> ?
> Pine Grosbeak: Expect very little or no southward movement into southern 
> Ontario because mountain-ash berry crops are excellent in most of the 
> boreal forest. A few should get south to Algonquin Park as in most 
> winters.?
> ?
> Purple Finch: Most Purple Finches should migrate south out of the province 
> this fall because many seed crops are poor in the north. This finch has 
> declined significantly in recent decades.?
> ?
> Red Crossbill: This crossbill comprises at least 10 "call types" in North 
> America. Each type has its cone preferences related to bill size and 
> shape. The types are exceedingly difficult to identify in the field. Types 
> 2 and 3 and probably 4 occur regularly in Ontario. Most Red Crossbills 
> prefer pines, but the smallest-billed Hemlock Type 3 (= subspecies 
> sitkensis of AOU Check-list 1957) prefers the small soft cones of hemlock 
> and white spruce when bumper in Ontario. However, it should be absent from 
> traditional areas such as Algonquin Park where hemlock and white spruce 
> occur together because these crops are poor there. White pine Type 2 is 
> the most frequently encountered Red Crossbill in the province. Since white 
> pine crops are low in most of the province, it should be rare to absent 
> this winter. Other Red Crossbill types are possible in the province.?
> ?
> White-winged Crossbill: This crossbill has no subspecies or types in North 
> America. In Ontario, it prefers the small soft cones of white, black and 
> red spruces and hemlock. Many White-winged Crossbills left the province 
> this past summer after last winter's irruption. Some went into northern 
> Ontario attracted to the good spruce cone crops and were singing and 
> presumably nested. These birds may remain in the north this winter and 
> could breed again in mid winter if seed supplies last. White-winged 
> Crossbills will be rare or absent this winter in traditional areas such as 
> Algonquin Park because spruce and hemlock cone crops are low. White-winged 
> Crossbills should appear this winter in Newfoundland and the Maritime 
> Provinces and the northern New England States, where spruce cone crops are 
> good to heavy.?
> ?
> Common and Hoary Redpolls: Redpolls are a birch seed specialist in winter. 
> Since the birch crop is poor in northeastern Ontario and Quebec, a few 
> Common Redpolls should move south into southern Ontario and farther east 
> and south. However, most redpolls may be drawn to good birch crops in 
> northwestern Ontario and westward in the boreal forest into Saskatchewan.?
> ?
> Pine Siskin: Siskins are a conifer seed specialist when they winter in 
> northern Ontario. Hemlock seed is another favorite in central Ontario. 
> Most siskins departed the province early this past summer and appear to 
> have gone mainly to western Canada. Banding recoveries show that siskins 
> wander both ways between eastern and western North America. Siskins are 
> currently very scarce in the Northeast. If siskins find good conifer crops 
> in the Northwest, such as the interior of British Columbia, they will stay 
> to winter and breed. It is uncertain whether many will return east this 
> fall to winter in northwestern Ontario, the Maritime Provinces and 
> northern New England States, where cone crops are good to excellent.?
> ?
> Evening Grosbeak: Breeding populations are much lower now than 35 years 
> ago due mainly to a decrease of large outbreaks of spruce budworm 
> beginning in the 1980s. A very few grosbeaks may move south from 
> northeastern Ontario and Quebec where coniferous and deciduous seed 
> supplies are generally poor. If any come, there are large crops of 
> Manitoba maple seeds and plenty of sunflower seeds at feeders waiting for 
> them.?
> ?
> Northern Goshawk: A good flight is very possible this fall or next. 
> Goshawks in the boreal forest in winter prey on hares, grouse and red 
> squirrels. Snowshoe Hares have been abundant in parts of northern Ontario 
> the past few years and they should crash soon. Also, Ruffed Grouse likely 
> had a poor breeding season due to a cool, wet spring and summer, which 
> lowered chick survival.?
> ?
> Blue Jay: The flight began in the second week of September. This year's 
> flight is much larger than in 2008 along the north shorelines of Lakes 
> Ontario and Erie because most acorn, beechnut and hazelnut crops were poor 
> this summer in Ontario with some local exceptions. Many fewer jays will 
> winter in Ontario because most could not find enough food to store.?
> ?
> Red-breasted Nuthatch: Movements of this nuthatch in Ontario are linked to 
> cone crop abundance, particularly white spruce, white pine and balsam fir 
> when bumper. There has not been a noticeable southward movement along 
> Lakes Ontario and Erie, indicating this is not an irruption year for it 
> and associated winter finches such as White-winged Crossbills and Pine 
> Siskins. However, Red-breasted Nuthatches will be scarce this winter in 
> central Ontario such as Algonquin Park and in northeastern Ontario and 
> Quebec because cone crops there are generally poor in these areas. Many 
> nuthatches likely dispersed to better cone crops north and west of Lake 
> Superior and east to the Maritime Provinces.?
> ?
> Bohemian Waxwing: Like the Pine Grosbeak, this waxwing is a mountain-ash 
> berry specialist in winter. Mountain-ash crops are high around Lake 
> Superior and in many areas of northern Ontario. Crops are also good in 
> Quebec, Newfoundland and northern New England States so this nomad may 
> show up in these areas this winter. Its breeding and winter ranges in 
> eastern North America have expanded in recent times. Range maps in field 
> guides show Bohemians breeding east to James Bay, but recently they have 
> been found in summer scattered across northern Quebec and Labrador. 
> Historically they were very rare in winter on the island of Newfoundland, 
> but are now abundant there some winters. Their winter range movements have 
> also expanded to other eastern areas because of planted European 
> mountain-ashes and ornamental crabapples.?
> ?
> WHERE TO SEE FINCHES: A winter trip to Algonquin Park is always a birding 
> adventure. The park is a three hour drive north of Toronto. Finch numbers 
> will be low in Algonquin this winter, but the feeders at the Visitor 
> Centre should attract a few Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks and 
> redpolls. Gray Jays frequent the suet feeder and sometimes a Pine Marten 
> or Fisher feeds on the suet. An observation deck overlooks a spectacular 
> boreal wetland and black spruce/tamarack forest. Eastern Canadian Wolves 
> (Canis lycaon), which until recently was a subspecies of the Gray Wolf, 
> are seen occasionally from the observation deck feeding on road-killed 
> Moose put out by park staff. The Visitor Centre and restaurant at km 43 
> are open on weekends in winter. Arrangements can be made to view feeders 
> on weekdays. For information, call the Visitor Centre at 613-637-2828. The 
> Spruce Bog Trail at km 42.5 near the Visitor Centre and the gated area 
> north on the Opeongo Road are the best spots for finches, Gray Jay, Boreal 
> Chickadee, Spruce Grouse and Black-backed Woodpecker.?
> ?
> FINCHES AND TREES: A good knowledge of trees is essential to understanding 
> winter finch habitats, food preferences and distributions. By coincidence, 
> the finch forecast comes out the same week as the new "The Sibley Guide to 
> Trees". In a recent interview with Birder's World, David Sibley said "I 
> wanted it to be a tree guide for birdwatchers".?
> ?
> Previous finch forecasts archived at OFO website.?
> http://www.ofo.ca/reportsandarticles/pastwinterfinches.php?
> Previous finch forecasts archived at Larry Neily's website.?
> http://ca.geocities.com/larry.neily@rogers.com/pittaway-old.htm?
> ?
> ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I thank staff of the Ontario Ministry of Natural 
> Resources from across the province designated by an asterisk* and many 
> others whose reports allow me to make annual forecasts: Ken Abraham* 
> (Hudson Bay Lowlands), Dennis Barry (Durham Region), Eleanor Beagan 
> (Prince Edward Island), Syd Cannings (Yukon), Ken Corston* (Moosonee), 
> Pascal Cote (Tadoussac, Quebec), Shirley Davidson (Minden/Dorset), Bruce 
> Di Labio (Ottawa), Carrolle Eady (Dryden), Cameron Eckert (Yukon), Nick 
> Escott (Thunder Bay), Brian Fox* (Timmins), Marcel Gahbauer (Alberta), 
> Stacy Gan* (James Bay), David Govatski (New Hampshire), Skye Haas 
> (Michigan), Charity Hendry* (Ontario Tree Seed Plant), Leo Heyens* 
> (Kenora), Tyler Hoar, George Holborn* (Thunder Bay), David Hussell*, Peter 
> Hynard (Haliburton and Maine), Jean Iron (Northeastern Ontario/James Bay), 
> Bruce Mactavish (Newfoundland), Erwin Meissner (Massey), Brian Naylor* 
> (North Bay), Stephen O'Donnell (Parry Sound District), Mark O'Donoghue 
> (Yukon), Fred Pinto* (North Bay), Rick Salmon* (Lake Nipigon), Harvey and 
> Brenda Schmidt (Creighton, Saskatchewan), Chris Sharp (Trent University), 
> Don Sutherland* (Northern Ontario), Eve Ticknor (Ottawa), Ron Tozer 
> (Algonquin Park), Declan Troy (Alaska), Mike Turner* (Minden), Mike Walsh* 
> (Muskoka), John Woodcock (Thunder Cape Bird Observatory), Matt Young has 
> been very helpful with seed crop information from New York State, and Kirk 
> Zufelt (Sault Ste Marie ON). Jean Iron provided many helpful suggestions 
> and proofed the forecast.?
> ?
> Ron Pittaway?
> Ontario Field Ornithologists?
> Minden ON?
> 19 September 2009?
> ?
> BirdChat Guidelines: http://www.ksu.edu/audubon/chatguidelines.html?
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