Each year, for many , many years Ron Pittaway has studied and produced the winter Finch forecast, the basis of his forecast is the boreal forest cone crops, as you will see here this year is a bumper crop. We all have noticed changes at our feeders this fall, the weather has played a roll for sure, no one knows what tomorrow will be like. The storms and hurricanes to the south and continued climate change are reeking havoc on our historical weather patterns. A recent trip to our wilderness property confirmed this erratic bird behaviour, the Ruffed Grouse were drumming like it was spring, many male birds were in the area competing to be heard by their female counterparts . We also saw many species of warblers, several Phoebes and more. The whippoorwill still sang at night which traditionally they would have been gone to their winter home. To that end we will need to keep our feeders full as it is also predicted that we will see above average snow again this year. Because of the cone crop we may see lots of siskins and red polls also , although as Ron suggests it may depend on how far the birds move out of the boreal forest. Perhaps a winter trip or two to the Boreal should be planned. That sounds like a great idea!
GENERAL FORECAST: Cone crops in the Northeast are bumper in 2017. It is the best cone crop in a decade or more. This will be a banner winter to see boreal finches in central and northeastern Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, northern New York, and northern New England States. The Big Question is: will finches concentrate in areas of highest cone abundance or be spread out across the Northeast? Cone crops are generally low west of a line from Lake Superior to James Bay extending west across the Prairie Provinces, British Columbia and Alaska which should drive birds our way this winter, the areas I frequent in Lanark and North Frontenac have an abundant cone crop as well, keep your eyes open for our winter birds, please let me know what you’re seeing and when, document the arrival date. It makes great data to compare year to year.