For the second consecutive fall, Chicago is experiencing an invasion of Red-breasted Nuthatches. We’ve been seeing them daily and in good numbers at Montrose for most of September. Almost every flock of warblers has a Red-breasted Nuthatch or two associating with it. Back to back years with high numbers are atypical – usually we have to wait a few years between influxes. Some of the better places to see them are in the tree snags just west of the Magic Hedge and in the Honey Locusts south of the Magic Hedge.
You know it’s a good fall for Pine Siskins when they outnumber the American Goldfinches. We’re at the beginning of what can only be described as a Pine Siskin invasion. Hundreds have been seen migrating south along the Illinois Lake Michigan lakefront, and numbers have been increasing at Montrose for over a week. On October 5 I saw about 100, my best count this fall, and probably my highest total ever for Montrose. Like other winter finches, Pine Siskins are irruptive, which means their numbers vary from one year to another, sometimes dramatically (2019 saw hardly any for example). This has also been an excellent fall for Purple Finches and Red-breasted Nuthatches, so something is going on in the boreal forest where these birds are coming from. Hopefully we’ll get redpolls and crossbills later in the fall. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
October 5, 2020