Friday, 17 February 2012

Pine Grosbeaks

Pine Grosbeaks are amongst the largest of finches. They are easily identified by their long tail, stubby body, and, slightly hooked bill. The males are rather striking with red plumage which is a stark contrast to the females who sport a dowdy olive gray colour.

Pine Grosbeaks like their yellow cousins, the Evening Grosbeak, are a rare sight indeed. Unlike Evening Grosbeaks, which will migrate all the way down to Mexico, Pine Grosbeaks tend to stay North even during the winter. There does seem to be a more southerly migration during particularly harsh winters when food is scarce.

Fortunately for birders across Northern Ontario the Pine Grosbeaks have made their way to our area. The flocks have been exceedingly strong in the Sudbury area. Pine Grosbeaks like most birds favour Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and simply cannot resist Hulled Sunflower Seeds (both of which are available in store!). These beautiful birds are ground feeders. Simply tossing the feed on the snow would suffice, though you may also go the route of a tray feeder that reduces the spread of the seeds limiting the mess that the birds can sometimes leave behind. We carry many styles of tray feeders in store, as well as “fly-through” feeders which they will also frequent. 

Pine Grosbeaks are a wonderful addition to any yard. These birds are exceptionally tame and highly tolerant of human activity, making them a favourite amongst birders. The Backyard Birder does not, however, encourage direct interaction with the birds!

Make sure to stop by the store and pick up all you need to attract and keep the Pine Grosbeaks coming to your yard!

Also hit us up on Facebook and post your pictures of Pine Grosbeaks and let us know if they are visiting your yard!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


The Redpolls are back!
These birds which breed in the far North of Coastal Greenland, Baffin Island, and, areas of the Hudson Bay follow no particular migratory pattern. They do, however, commonly head south in search of food during the winter. How far they go varies with the years this often makes them absent in the Sudbury, and surrounding, area.
Redpolls are small sparrow sized finches with gray-brown streaks on their back and sides. Their distinguishing feature is the red cap on their head as well as their black throat patch. Male Redpolls also have light pink plumage on their chests.
Fortunately for Northern Ontario birders the redpolls have come to us in search of food. They are a favorite amongst birders because of the large flocks the move in, up to one hundred strong.
Redpoll’s seed of choice is Nyjer, though they will also eat sunflower seeds. Redpolls will move on if they find a lack of food so it is essential to keep your feeders filled!
At the Backyard Birder Nature Gift Shop we have many different styles of Nyjer feeders as well as sunflower seed feeders which can be seen on our website!birds. We also carry both nyjer seeds and sunflower seeds in store!

Also check us out on Facebook and share your Redpoll stories and pictures!