Re: [OrangeCountyBirding] Pine Siskins
- Well, I will combine my own semi-educated opinion with what I've heard from
others to answer Nancy's questions about WHY all the mountain birds are
showing up places other than the mountins.
Theory 1: Lack of sufficient rain (dare I say drought) has caused a shortage
of food sources in the local mountains, forcing birds like chikadees,
siskins, and crossbills down into the coastal areas from the San Gabriel, San
Bernardino, San Jacinto and Santa Ana Mountains.
Theory 2: Extensive fires last summer in the Rockies and elsewhere in the
western portion of the United States have forced birds from those areas to
travel long distances to find sustainable winter food sources.
Theory 3: Both of the above.
Theory 4: None of the above.
For this reason, birds like snowy owls, chickadees, crossbills, etc., would
be most affected by these theories. Birds like curlew sandpiper, however,
which rarely but regularly show up along our coast from Siberia are probably
not a result of this phenomenon. If theory 2 is correct, we should be paying
special attention to determine whether or not any of the birds showing up are
of the Rocky Mtn subspecies.
These are just my random rambling theories. I would like to hear what anyone
else has to say about this.
- To Tom and anyone else with information on the subject:
The Snowy Owl was mentioned as a possible montane species showing up in
lower elevations this year. Does anyone know where I might find a Snowy?
This is a bird I have always wanted to see!!!!!!!!! Any reliable information
would be appreciated.
- At 11:54 PM 12/10/00, Nancy and Richard Kenyon wrote:
>The Snowy Owl was mentioned as a possible montane species showing up inNancy,
>lower elevations this year. Does anyone know where I might find a Snowy?
>This is a bird I have always wanted to see!!!!!!!!! Any reliable information
>would be appreciated.
Snowy Owl is not a montane species. It is a tundra species and prefers the
shoreline. Its primary diet is lemmings, and it disperses south when the
lemming population crashes. There are currently Snowy Owls along the New
England shore and I think there may be some in Washington and Oregon.
A nice article about Snowy Owls in general, and my sister finding one in
particular, is in the following article from the Hartford Courant.
Steve Sosensky, photographer www.sosensky.com
10834 Blix Street #213 818-508-4946
Toluca Lake, CA 91602 34*09'02" N, 118*22'47" W
Audubon in So. California www.SoCalAudubon.org/socal/
San Fernando Valley AS www.SanFernandoValleyAudubon.org/sfvas/
I currently have a charm of Pine Siskins mobbing my feeders. At least nine, very easily could have been more, at the high point. They were hard to count while holding a squirmy baby. They seem to have died down to a steady 5-6 lately. I have only ever had 1-2 at a time so this is easily a yard record. Associating with other Fringillidae at three of my current feed types (black oil sunflower, thistle, and "wild bird seed" but primarily the first two).
A few photos here: https://flic.kr/p/AfyhgD
Other "notable" yard birds today include Hermit Thrush (first of the season), at least three continuing Phainopepla, and a Song Sparrow, which although I've got a yard list of 82 species, Song Sparrows are extraordinarily rare in my yard for some reason, with only maybe 2-3 other documented occurrences in the 3 years that we've lived in this house.
"I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me."
Staying home from work today and just thought it notable to point out that I just had a massive roaming flock of Pine Siskins show up at my house in one of my trees. I counted 26 that were visible to my eyes as they sat perched, but it was very clearly much more than that when they all took off and flew again (I would estimate at least 40). This is in addition to the "residents" that have been in my yard and were present simultaneously while I was counting these others [and are currently to my left at my feeders as I am typing this from my backyard]).
For whatever reason, Pine Siskins are loving my house this winter, again funny because up until this year I have only ever recorded 1 at a time and every time the bird was gone within a couple minutes and didn't return.
The Phainopeplas and Red-breasted Nuthatch continue and I also had Band-tailed Pigeons this morning as well.
With all the activity in my yard this winter I am keeping my eyes peeled and my fingers crossed for vagrants here at the house...
"We were young and we were strong and we were running against the wind."