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Invasion years!

Many of these birds will visit feeders while they are here, Pine Siskins and Common Redpoll usually like thistle (nyjer) and Evening Grosbeaks and Purple Finch like the sunflower seeds.  This is the first year that we are getting reports of White-winged Crossbills at feeders and they have been eating the nyjer seed as well!

   Chickadees are also on the move, northern populations moved south in early September and most people are reporting more than usual numbers of them at their feeders. It is really shaping up to be a great year for backyard birdfeeding!  And just before this article was written a Snowy Owl was seen in Stratford!

Every once in a while our usual local finches are joined by their cousins that normally stay north. Many of these finches that show up continue to go south and then show up again on their way back north.

Beginning sometime in late August/early September, Purple Finch began showing up in our area.  It's not all that uncommon to get these birds in the fall around here but this year they seemed to be everywhere!  Then the Pine Siskins began to show up as well as scattered reports of White-winged Crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks.  Then news of Common Redpoll - wow!  Most of these birds nest north of us and only come this far south when their natural food supplies are scarce.

These are Common Redpoll.  Keep your eye out for these guys in winter at your thistle feeders.  These guys normally stay to the north but in some years make their way further south than normal.

If you are really lucky you might get one of these... a Hoary Redpoll. They are far less common than the Common Redpoll.



It is common for many people to think that they have "Purple" finches all the time.  In our area we have House Finches year round but only get the Purple's during the colder months. They nest mostly to our north and in many years never come this far south in any numbers.  Last year for example there were few around. This year we have many.  I have posted some photos of both below to help you figure out if you are getting Purple Finches this year. They are more numerous than in most years right now and are quite a treat!

This is a male House finch. The intensity of the red and the amount of red can vary quite a bit but the wings are always brown. Compare this to the Male Purple Finch to the right.

This is a Purple Finch. They are similar to the House Finches we have around all year but can be told apart from them by the pinkish coloring that goes into the wing as well as the coloring that makes them look as though they were dunked in rasberry juice.

This is a female House Finch.
They are similar to the female Purple Finch but lack the white eyeline. See the female Purple finch to the right.

This is a female Purple Finch.
Note the white eye stripe.  This bird reminds many of the female Rose Breasted Grosbeak



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