The State of Irruption (so far)

Report by guest contributor MELISSA BLOCK (Minnetonka, Minnesota)
Evening Grosbeaks. Photo by Bloomington customer Randy Wendel

This has been a crazy winter irruption this year—for some locales. It was predicted that we would not get a big influx of Pine Siskins this year, but we did, only early in the season. Most of them have now moved farther south. I know I was excited when I saw some in my yard in November and early December, but I haven’t seen very many since then.

There have been a lot of reports of Evening Grosbeaks this year. Most of them have been north of the cities, but there have been some spotted at feeders around here.

People have reported quite a few Common Redpolls and White-winged Crossbills. I’m envious, I haven’t seen either in my yard yet.

It’s also been a great irruption year for some owls. Great Grey Owls have been plentiful at Sax Zim, Duluth and up the North Shore. I know there have been a couple Snowy Owls spotted near the MPS airport.

For me, in Minnetonka, it’s been a real mixed bag. I still have a few juncos in my yard, but they are few and far between. I have lots of goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches. Every once and a while a Northern Flicker stops by. It’s still so interesting, and calming, to watch our winter birds.

The following video shows irruptive species that most commonly visit Minnesota: