Each year toward the end of September the Finch Forecast is released brimming full of interesting data and observations across a variety of finch species here in Ontario. The forecast highlights the movements across the finch species with regards to their migration patterns and illustrates where and when they are moving and where they might end up over the winter months.
As with many species of birds this time of year, the movements of the finch are usually based on the availability of food sources. For this reason, there are three key trees in the boreal forest that directly affect the movements of these birds; birch trees, spruce trees, and mountain ash trees. Generally speaking this year, birch seed crops are at a lower level in the north, but spruce trees in the area are laden with cones. For these two reasons it is expected to see Common Redpolls move down into southern Canada and the northern US, while keeping species like the White-Winged Crossbill in the boreal forest dining on spruce cones.
It is expected that we will see a large number of Purple Finch on the move this year with the decline in the coniferous and deciduous tree seed crops as opposed to last year when they remained in the boreal forest.
Keep an eye out for both the Red Crossbill and the Common Redpoll this winter as well. With birch seed crops declining as mentioned above it should give the Common Redpoll a good push down south as they look for reliable food sources.
This year’s forecast is a good mix, reporting that we should see movements across some finch species but not others. To read this year’s full report you can view it by clicking here to the Ontario Field Ornithologists website.