More finches in annual count, say birders
New Brunswick birders are noticing an unusual number of winter finches appearing so far in the annual Christmas bird counts.
Every Christmas, Alain Clavette heads out to count birds in his area of Memramcook.
He said this year birders are noticing finches such as pine grosbeaks, red crossbills and white-wing crossbills at feeders.
"You'll say, 'Well we can see those birds every winter in new Brunswick.' Yes, if you go up north, if you go in mountains in the boreal habitat, but right now they're spread all over the territory," said Clavette.
He thinks they've probably come down from the north because they're suffering from a lack of food.
Pinecones are especially rare because of the summer drought, he added.
The bird count started in 1900 when an American bird watcher suggested people count the birds instead of the more popular tradition at the time of shooting them, said Clavette.
"It's kind of interesting that the very first year in North America that there was a Christmas bird count, one took place in New Brunswick, close to Fredericton, the gentleman counted nine species of birds."
It took 37 years before a second bird count was held in the province, said Clavette.
But they're now an annual event.
This year's count will continue until Jan. 5.