Pine Siskin irruption and 4 White-throated Sparrows in Atascadero

Kevin Zimmer

Echoing Rick Derevan’s post, we are also experiencing an irruption of Pine Siskins in Atascadero. Prior to the Morro Bay CBC on December 16, we had been seeing 40+ Lesser Goldfinches, a very few American Goldfinches, and no Pine Siskins at our feeders. Our first siskins of the year showed up on Dec 18, when I saw just 2 birds. Just in the past week, the numbers of siskins has risen dramatically, peaking today (January 1), when I counted 50 in view on the feeders and/or bathing in our fountain at one time. When I went out onto our front deck, I could see that the siskins on the feeders were only a fraction of the total present, as there were dozens of siskins festooned over the oaks in the back yard. A conservative estimate on numbers would be in the neighborhood of 120. Oddly, concomitant with the dramatic increase in siskins, the number of Lesser Goldfinches in our yard has dropped way off (now fewer than 10 around at any one time).

Also, as of yesterday (Dec 31), I can confirm 4 different White-throated Sparrows hanging with the Zonotrichia-flock in our yard. Two are adults, and two are streaky HY birds.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Kevin Zimmer

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