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Bird Collective x FiRN II

Winter Finch Forecast 2021

September 28, 2021

Last winter we partnered with the Finch Research Network (FiRN) to celebrate the "superflight" of northern finches out of the boreal forest, a phenomenon that captivated birders in the Eastern U.S. and beyond. We can't wait to see what the upcoming season will do for an encore, and for a preview, we need to look no further than Tyler Hoar's much-anticipated annual Winter Finch Forecast, the report he put out on Sunday. 

Hoar (and the forecast's long-serving author before him, Ron Pittaway) uses cone crop observations from across Canada during the summer and fall to predict the winter movements of the likes of crossbills, redpolls, and Evening and Pine Grosbeaks. About 2021-2022, he wrote: "The year's flight should not be an irruption year, but some southward movement should be into their normal southern wintering areas in Southeastern Canada and Northeastern United States." Instead of these birds coming to backyard feeders like last year, Hoar says, you might have to go search for them.

Maine artist Jada Fitch, who designed our earlier FiRN apparel, has created a new illustration with some of the birds we're hoping to see this season: Evening Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, White-winged Crossbill, and Purple Finch. These northern residents rely on the boom-or-bust crop cycles of masting conifers and other boreal trees for food, and when these trees don’t produce enough seeds and fruit, the birds fly south in search of sustenance. These "irruptions" always make for an exciting prospect for winter birding.

Bird Collective will donate 20% of the profits from this shirt to the Finch Research Network (FiRN), a non-profit dedicated to growing our understanding of these often-elusive birds, and the home base of the Winter Finch Forecast.