They only make it this far south?

A couple of years ago, November’s Phenology took a rather downhearted and depressed approach to the month. And yet, being a birder, there are always reasons to stay alert and positive. When we think about bird migration, we mostly do so within the context of our summer birds high-tailing it out of here for points south. Yet, there are migrants that, while flying south in the fall, land here to spend the winter. This provides us the opportunity to watch birds that spend the breeding season north of here, sometimes much further north. Some examples of such birds that have been seen near the Twin Cities recently are slate colored junco and northern shrike. Over the next couple of months be on the look-out for “winter finches” such as redpolls, pine siskins, and if we are lucky, crossbills that will venture this far south when the conifer seed crop up north is poor.

To keep track of what birds are being seen around Minnesota this winter, visit the Minnesota Ornithologists Union website.