Winter Finch Forecast 2020

The 2020 Winter Finch Forecast is now available.

What is the Winter Finch Forecast? 

"Each year, certain migratory birds in North America make the trip south to their wintering grounds. This journey takes place every year in roughly the same pattern. So much so, that one can almost plan their calendar according to the arrival and departure of a certain species. However, there is another migration that takes place in a much different way: the winter finch migration.

Winter finches reside in the northern forests of Canada during summer and often move around in fall and winter. However, they don’t migrate in the same patterns as other bird species. In fact they don’t even repeat the same pattern from one year to the next.

The term “irruption” is often used to describe mass migrations of some of these northern species into the United States. In years past, birders have noticed increased numbers of certain winter finch species (Including Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Redpolls and more) in some winters, while in other winters, North America’s conifer forests stand untouched by these birds.

Part of the mystery of winter finches is that for the longest time, it was unclear which species would irrupt (if any) on a given year and what the cause was for these large flights of birds moving across the continent. It turns out there is actually a singular driving force to the movements of these birds: food.

The best way to predict which winter finch species are going to be moving south is by analyzing each species preferred food source in the north. In particular, many of these birds feed on conifer cones. When cone crops are low, these nomadic birds migrate to other areas in search of food. Enter the winter finch forecast." (from Badgerland Birding).

Based on the forecast we may see Purple Finch, Redpolls and Evening Grosbeak during the winter of 2020 in southern Ontario. Read the 2020 Winter Finch Forecast 

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