This is the time of year when you may begin to see some less-common visitors to your backyard feeding stations. Every few years, we experience an “irruption”—an influx of typically northern-dwelling birds—into our Twin Cities Metro Area and beyond in Minnesota. The irruption is often due to poor crops of conifer seeds (pine and spruce) and catkins (birch and alders) that birds like Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls consume.
Irruption events are lucky for us as backyard birders, because we are fortunate to be able to see species of birds that may otherwise live out of our range. We can support these birds by providing Nyjer, Nyjer and Chips, sunflower chips, or Finches’ Choice in finch feeders. Flocks of visiting Pine Siskins and/or redpolls will greedily thank you for the gifts!
Get to know these two species a little better with the following video.