About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blue Jays are hungry says Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast 2016-2017

Pine Siskins at seed cylinder
There is some good news for backyard bird watchers, and not so good news for some birds. Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a warmer than normal winter but more snow beginning mid-November to early March. And the annual Finch Forecast reports the seed crops poor in some areas and generally good to bumper in other areas.

First you may have noticed an increase in the number of Blue Jays at the feeders. Due to the drought, there were poor acorn, beechnut, and hazelnut crops. This is pushing the jays from mid-September to mid-October down in search of food.

You should also expect to see more visiting redpolls and siskins at the finch and sunflower feeders because cone crops in the Northeast are generally poor. And more evidence of poor cone crops is I’ve already seen the little, laughing Red-breasted Nuthatches early this September at the suet and nut feeders. This indicates that Purple Finches, and White-winged Crossbills are on the move too.

Later the snow will mean a lot of natural foods will be covered and our regular winter feeder birds will be visiting more often in search of food. But while I’m excited about all the bird activity we’ll have this winter, this is just the first week in Fall and we are experiencing a variety of birds passing through right now! Each migratory species has its own characteristic route between its nesting and winter ranges. Weather conditions often affect the migratory dates, direction as well as altitude as birds may fly higher or lower to avoid or take advantage of prevailing winds.

BirdCast is a website that has real-time predictions of when birds migrate, where they migrate, and how far they will be flying. According to this week’s forecast, species on the move right now include the Northern Flicker, Eastern and Say’s Phoebes, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Marsh and Winter Wrens, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Yellow-rumped and Palm Warbler, Savannah, Golden-crowned, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Lincoln’s, and FoxSparrows, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

So keep your feeders and baths full and clean and your eyes and ears open for new visitors.

Related Articles:
- 10 Winter Finches in Michigan: http://bit.ly/oL3iCF
- Birds of Michigan Field Guide http://bit.ly/pXv5ZN
- What’s the best suet for Michigan wild birds? http://bit.ly/nImz5g
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/qizlNh
- How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter Birdwatching http://bit.ly/q93Men
- What is the best bird feeder? http://bit.ly/qVr7i8

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