When Ingrid and I began discussing the my Maine Big Year we realized we should control what we could control: bird knowledge, technology, contacts and accept what we couldn’t control: weather, our health and rarities.
Little did we know, but the winter of 2020-2021 would be a “Superflight Year”, he biggest irruption of northern finches and allies in recent history. Every species that normally resides in Canada’s Boreal Forests (think spruce) is irrupting, or moving southward in search of food. A perfect storm of feast and famine made this a banner year, affecting Redpolls, Grosbeaks, Siskins, Crossbills, and or course Finches. Other irruptive species, like Blue Jays, Bohemian Waxwings, and Red-breasted Nuthatches, also moved south in incredible numbers. Basically there is not enough food to support them, so they all have spilled out of Canada into the lower 48 states.
And for me . . . this allowed me to pick up and photograph the all of these birds by the middle of February.
Our timing has been great (or lucky).