Outdoor Radio: The Irruption Migration Of Pine Grosbeak Finches

Dec 26, 2018

In Spring, Vermont is awash with migrant birds; sadly, we don't see many species in the Winter. However, there are occasional irruption migrations as birds come from the north in search of shriveled fruit and seeds. Many of these winter arrivals are various species of finches including the Pine Grosbeak.

In this month's episode of Outdoor Radio, biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra are at the Northbranch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont, with Nathaniel Sharp, a naturalist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Together, they are scanning the tops of crabapple trees looking for the Pine Grosbeak finch, a "crown jewel" for winter bird watchers.

Irruption migrations don't happen every year, but when the pickings for fruit and seeds are slim in northern reaches, finches will often migrate south. Discover what seeds you can place in your feeder to draw these visitors to your yard.

Find more about Pine Grosbeaks at these sites:

Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with the Vermont Center For Ecostudies.