The Irruption of 2020
The current bird “irruption” makes this a great year to go birding or feed birds and see some less common visitors.
An irruption is a dramatic, irregular migration of a large numbers of birds to areas where they aren’t routinely found. Due to fires, droughts, increase of Spruce gall worms, low pine cone production and other issues of our Canadian and Northern US neighbors, several species of birds have flocked south to find better food sources for the winter. These irruptions happen every few years and give us cool opportunities to see different visitors at our feeders or hanging out in parks or fields.
Some of the more notable birds of this irruption are Pine Siskins and Red-breasted Nuthatches (often show up in winters but here in huge numbers this year) and the beautiful yellow and black Evening Grossbeak (has been seen in Dakota and Goodhue county as well as other counties). Pine Grossbeaks, Red or White Winged Crossbills and other finches are even showing up not too far away from us. And the Redpolls are coming down too. Some Bohemian Waxwings have been seen out of their typical range also. More Owls (like the Snowy) and Hawks may show up too. So far I’ve only had the Siskins and Red-breasted Nuthatches of these less frequent visitors but hopefully some others will show up too. Many of the visitors will appreciate sunflower and/or thistle seeds plus peanuts and fruity mixes.
So, this may be a good winter to see more bird species than usual. And it is easy to get hooked on birding if you aren’t already.
Please stay safe and have a good holiday, and fun bird watching,