Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012 Red-breasted Nuthatch Irruption Update & Pine Siskins

I figured it was time to do more geeking out on eBird and other places and get an update on Red-breasted Nuthatch sightings and figured I'd look at the Pine Siskin's while at it considering everyone and their uncle has seen one, except for me of course but what else is new!  The map above is eBird data of Red-breasted Nuthatch's and as you can see they continue to be everywhere (including islands!)

And now for the Pine Siskins who will soon be coming to a feeder near you if you play your cards right.  As you can see these birds are blanketing the eastern part of the country and even being found in the Atlantic Ocean (hearty little birds, but what do you expect with them being boreal and all!)

So with that I wanted to dig into some numbers to get a better understanding for Worcester County as we stand right now so downloaded some data from eBird onto my computer to see what it looks like.

And the data above shows the Red-breasted Nuthatches still making their way through Worcester County with a drop the week ending the 8th so it will be interesting to see if that was just noise or not which I'm guessing it is when I look at data from other places.  What's most interesting though is the data from the week ending October 1st with the Pine Siskins as they outnumber the nuthatches in totals, high counts, avg count, birds per hour and abundance but not in frequency which means people are seeing more nuthatches when birding, but when they see the siskin's they're seeing many!

In looking at the 2012/2013 Ron Pittiway's Winter Finch Forecast it was predicted that both these birds would migrate further south with the crop failures up north so it will be interesting to see what else comes our way as we now have the Red-breasted Nuthatches, Red Crossbills and Pine Siskins.  I'd decide to look at maps of the others to see if I cold see any movement headed our way even if it is still too early for most.

First are Pine Grosbeaks and all the markers are reported sightings from August to present of this year (in fact all of the maps I'm showing are) and the only New England report of them thus far comes from Maine.

Next are Red Crossbill's and while they're not as numerous as the nuthatch and siskin, they're still coming through with most of them in Western and Central Massachusetts.

And staying with the crossbill theme the map above are for White-winged Crossbill's and as you can see it's nothing like the reds with most of the recent sightings happening along the Maine coastline.

Common Redpolls are just about non existent at this point, but it's not surprising considering they're late arrivals so it's something to continue to track in hopes they come our way and drive up the bird seed costs along with the siskin's!

The Evening Grosbeak numbers above look a lot more promising than the Pines this early with most of them in the VT area so i'll be keeping track to see if they venture down to Western Mass and then make their way central!

And just for fun, Bohemian Waxwings can someone say "crickets chirping".  Another bird to track via eBird as the winter season arrives as I really want this bird on my Worcester County list considering my love of the Cedar's.

So with me being the curious type and all, I decided to look at the past to see if it would give an idea of the future and according to my finding's, it's a tad inconclusive.  ;-).

The data above was collected from Recent Central Mass Bird Sightings where I pulled all data of irruptive species (except shrike-but I wanted to see if there was a pattern between them and the finch's and their isn't-but I'll have more on that later this year).  I used Red-breasted Nuthatch as my criteria in choosing the years I wanted to look at and compare them with some CBC numbers and see if the numbers reported in October and November would stick around for December.  NOTE:  The numbers don't match the CBC data of course as they come from two different sources so I treat all of the data I collect as samples and don't really look at the overall numbers, but just a pattern of sorts.  What's most interesting is totals decrease closer to December (lots of noise w/ the Purple Finch's in Oct-10) so if you back that out- November is the month most sightings are reported.  December decreases but that may be due in part to the holiday's as well as people being busy with their local CBC's.

So with that said, I'd pull the major CBC's for Worcester county and look at the same years as I did from Rick's data (with the exception for 1993, but I had to share that as it's a birder's dream!  I so wish I was birding back then to see what it was like, but maybe we can have a smaller repeat this year!).  Seriously there are four lifers on that year for me with the Boreal Chickadee trumping them all.  Funny to see only one shrike for that count considering the potential bird buffet but I think they prefer Snow Buntings myself. ;-)

Anyway, back to topic and only looking at 2000, 2003 and 2010.  What I wanted to do was see if there was any relation to the high counts of Red-breasted Nuthatch's and the others with an emphasis on Pine Siskin's and Common Redpolls and you will see higher numbers for all in 2003 and 2010 but no relation in 2000 so leave it up to you to decide.

You too can track the migration of many of the birds above by using the eBird link in the beginning of this post as eBird's been kind enough to do all of the tech stuff for you so all you have to do is click and zoom.  Pretty nifty if I do say so myself!

And FYI,  Larry from Quabbin Birding and Beyond is reporting seeing some of the birds above in Western Massachusetts as well.

Take care all.


Larry said...

Strange how we both had post about this subject! Love all the maps...eBird is great!

Kim said...

I was thinking the same thing Larry when I saw your post. HA. eBird is awesome. Not just for tracking your own birds and lists, but the access to do analysis using them all.

Anonymous said...

Just had a flock of pine siskins descend upon my feeders this AM as it happens. Found your blog for the first time ever this AM too! LOVE my birds!! :) Mel from Pittsfield, ME

E♥an said...

Saw a red-breasted nuthatch in Nashville, TN recently. I didn't see any last year. I've read about their migration every other year, etc. They're great little birds.

Anonymous said...

I'm near Raleigh, NC, and Red-Breasted Nuthatches have been seen regularly, but I haven't seen any Pine Siskins yet.


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