|"Band of Gold: Evening Grosbeaks" by Julie Zickefoose|
Yes it seems that this is an invasion year for grosbeaks and other members of the finch family, too, including pine siskins (currently EVERYwhere), purple finches, a few redpolls, and both flavors of crossbill (we still have just two crossbill species in North America as I write this, though the "splitters" are hard at work).
It's been years since we had a serious influx of evening grosbeaks here in southeastern Ohio. I remember a couple of visits to our bird feeders in the early 1990s, but that's about it. Of course many local birders—in fact many bird watchers in the Midwest recall the huge northern finch incursions during the late 1970s. The winters of 1977-78 and 1978-79 were among the coldest and snowiest in modern times. And we had colorful, feisty flocks of finches covering our feeders. I remember filling the feeders almost daily and watching hundreds of evening grosbeaks and common redpolls descending to gorge themselves. We'd started Bird Watcher's Digest in the fall of 1978 in our house, and all the bird watchers' chatter and newspaper articles about the winter finch invasion gave us great encouragement to keep the magazine going.
|The male evening grosbeak from Willard Bay State Park in Utah.|
|Julie's quick snapshot of one of this year's grosbeaks in our gray birch tree.|
Here's my gargantuan feeder, with my hat and a tiny tufted titmouse for size perspective. Now how could any passing evening grosbeak not notice this? I'm thinking about making some grosbeak decoys (out of French's mustard bottles) and using my iPod to play grosbeak flock calls out the window. But I'm NOT desperate. Not at all.