In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of the year. We featured Pine Grosbeak, pictured above, in our January/February 2019 issue.
A chunky, often confiding, finch of northern forests, the Pine Grosbeak is best known and most likely to be seen during its infrequent southerly irruptions in some winters. In June, Pine Grosbeak occurs in boreal forests at high latitudes from Alaska to eastern Canada, as well as at high elevations in the Rocky Mountains. By February, its distribution has shifted significantly to the south: The species occurs in southern Alaska, across the boreal forest of Canada, and throughout the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest. A few grosbeaks generally reach the northern tier of the lower 48 states, but in major irruption years, the species can be relatively common in yards, parks, and gardens in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast. Listen for the unique musical tee-tee-tew whistle given by birds in flight, apparently used to promote flock cohesion.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the January/February 2019 issue of BirdWatching.