A Northern Finch Invasion.

Marge Raymond has been birding at Green-Wood for years. She also is a tour guide for The Green-Wood Historic Fund, leading tours every Wednesday and two Sundays per month.

Marge just has sent this report in about recent bird sightings at Green-Wood:

We are having what’s likely to be one of our most exciting winters for bird watching!

We are seeing an irruption of Northern Finches–winter visits by birds that normally do not come to Brooklyn– far larger than we have seen before. Because of a widespread  failure of fruiting and cone-bearing trees in Canada, these birds are looking for food as far away from Canada as Brooklyn.

On a balmy day about a week ago, my friend Rob Jett (“The Citybirder”) reported seeing bluebirds and Winter Finches in and around Green-Wood’s Cedar Dell. “Winter finches” are several species of birds in the finch-related family and may include birds such as Pine Siskins, Evening Grosbeaks, White-winged and Red Crossbills, as well as Common Redpolls. I was excited:  finches are quite rare in Brooklyn. Rob and I went out together and, to my delight, spotted Pine Siskins, White-winged Crossbills, Red Crossbills, and Common Redpolls.

Male Red Crossbills. It is pretty apparent why they are called "Crossbills." This is a stock photo--not taken at Green-Wood.

We also saw four beautiful Bluebirds feeding nearby, along with Winter Finches, Goldfinches and Purple Finches.

A Bluebird, resting on a granite carving of a shrouded urn, at Green-Wood.

There are quite a few Sweet Gum trees in that part of Green-Wood–and these birds were feeding on their seeds. We could not believe how many finches were in just one tree–and all of them in a feeding frenzy. We stood there marveling at the acrobatic antics of the birds prying the seeds from the Sweet Gum balls. Thanks to the birds, the seeds were falling like confetti!

And, as a bonus, above the nearby Catacombs, I saw a typical winter feeding scene at Green-Wood–these birds are here every winter–of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-breasted and White- Breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Mourning Doves.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker. Stock photograph.

Bring your binoculars and walk around Green-Wood to see these finches–they may not visit again for many many years.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.