Not irruptive


For years, I have been wrong (and have been misleading readers) when I have said that the Pine Grosbeak is a locally irruptive species. 

An irruptive bird is one that breeds in the north, but, occasionally irrupts in large numbers to the distant south. I had been persuaded that the Pine Grosbeak was one of these irruptive species by a number of websites that labelled it as such, plus the fact that I only saw it now and then in winter months. It all seemed to fit. But, I was wrong.

Certainly, the Pine Grosbeak is irruptive on the eastern half of North America, and websites based there proclaim it as such. But, these sites are regional (without saying so). In the western mountains, the Pine Grosbeak is, not irruptive, but a permanent resident. It is an altitudinal migrant: breeding in the high country during the warm months and sometimes descending to the valley bottoms in the cold months.

Today, I watched a few Pine Grosbeaks feeding on saskatoon berries.

This bird played the contortionist to get at the berries.

A male (top) and female Pine Grosbeak feed.


This entry was posted in birds. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Not irruptive

  1. Karen Pidcock says:

    I’ve enjoyed twice in recent winter weeks flocks of these gorgeous birds! Glad they’re with us, and not irruptives!!

  2. Christine Boyd says:

    Beautiful to see these birds, thanks so much Alistair.

  3. Irene McIlwaine says:

    Thanks again Alistair. I am always delighted to see, (both the birds when they visit, though they do seem to be fewer in numbers. I remember seeing great flocks of them when we lived in Fort Shepperd some years ago. Here at Briarwood many fewer spied, especially this year when we have no Rowan berries at all), and your super pictures of them. thanks again Irene McIlwaine

Comments are closed.