The year of 2020 certainly hasn’t contained the word good due to COVID. If you enjoy watching birds it has been an incredibly good year with sightings of many different species over the spring and summer months, and the coming winter season is looking to be just as good.
The most recent reports of new visitors to backyard feeders are Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. These birds will stay in the northern forests of Canada and Alaska unless there is a shortage of cone crops on coniferous trees. When this happens they will move southward in large flocks searching for food.
Pine Siskins are small songbirds with streaked brown breasts and pale yellow edgings on their pointed wings and forked tails. Their sharp bills have been compared to a thorn on a rosebush. I had a flock of these birds on my nyjer feeder two years ago. At first I thought they were Goldfinches, but upon further inspection I realized that they were Pine Siskins.
Common Redpolls are small finches about the size of a chickadee. They can be easily identified by the red patch on their forehead and beautiful bright pink wash on their upper breast. Dark streaks adorn their sides and back. Despite their small size they can withstand the frigid temperatures of winter.
If you offer nyjer and sunflower seeds you may be one of the fortunate birders to enjoy these newcomers to your feeders. I believe watching birds this winter will help us all cope with the other distractions in the world making it a happier place.
By Jane Paradis