Connecticut Audbon Society



Winter Finches in Connecticut: “A siskin on every feeder port of every feeder”

Jenna Bartholomew took this photo of Evening Grosbeaks recently, through a glass door.

November 2, 2020 — Good news, bird lovers. The winter finch influx seems to be continuing, with Common Redpolls and a Red Crossbill added to the list.

Members started to email us last Tuesday. In Chaplin, about seven miles southeast of Storrs, Juan A. Sanchez Jr. reported: Have had two flocks of purple finches (10-14) each about six days apart (same flock?) stayed for three-four days each. One Red-breasted Nuthatch, first ever at my feeder (only one day), Pine Siskins flock of 25-30 for over two weeks.”

Charles Stebbins, of Fairfield, reported: “We’ve already counted flocks of 40-plus Pine Siskin at our feeders … and a half dozen purple finches. Can’t wait for the next wave!”

The report from Richard Williams, an Old Lyme resident, highlights how various feeders and types of food, plus water, attract lots of birds. 

He wrote  that on October 21, “We had red-breasted nuthatches (at least 2, a male and female) show, and they are regular visitors still (focused mostly on peanuts).  This is the only time we’ve had them over 15 +  years. On 10/24 our feeder system was visited by Pine Siskins. Every day since we’ve had, at times, essentially a siskin on every feeder port of every feeder. They are focused on the thistle and mixed seed in particular, but also on the peanuts and black sunflower seeds. They even joined in drinking and bathing, seemingly without causing any tension, with our bluebird family … And on 10/25, we saw Purple Finches (a few females and one male) among our resident house finches and goldfinches; then we saw another male and female Purple Finch today. I’m so hoping we see Evening Grosbeaks, redpolls, and crossbills!”   

Tracy Zulick, in Ashford, wrote: “I had a confused slightly frantic Red-breasted Nuthatch in my yard on Saturday buzzing around the feeders and almost flew into my husband. This is the first time I have ever seen one on my property. Also we had a flock of Purple Finches a few weeks ago.”

In Glastonbury, Roy Zagieboylo reported Purple Finches, and Karl Tolonen of South Meriden reported a Pine Siskin.

Then came the Evening Grosbeaks. The big flocks haven’t stopped by yet, apparently, but maybe these are the scouts. 

Randall White had a female Evening Grosbeak at his feeder in Ashford. Over the weekend in South Woodstock, Mary Stockdale reported: “Just had 1 female Evening Grosbeak at my feeder until the cowbirds arrived. Haven’t seen one in many years.”

Jenna Bartholomew saw Evening Grosbeaks on Saturday: “I saw two males and four females at my backyard feeders in Uncasville, CT around 3 p.m. They were at a platform feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. Amazing to see! I’ve never seen them before, but my mom said the last time she’d seen them was over 10 years ago in New London. I’ve attached some pictures, but they’re not the best quality because they were through my glass sliding doors.”

On eBird, there were reports of 40 Common Redpolls in Stratford and 17 in Westport on Saturday, and two in Tolland yesterday. As for Red Crossbills, eBird shows only one Connecticut report as of this morning but there are lots of red pins on the map just north of the border in Massachusetts.

So keep looking. We’re always happy to hear of more sightings and to look at your photos: Thank you! — Tom Andersen






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