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Bird Count Shows Uptick in Evening Grosbeaks

I already reported on some of the interesting findings of The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) that took place in February, but the project recently put out more findings this week regarding bird populations.

According to the GBBC, Evening Grosbeak populations were reportedly the highest they’ve ever been during the GBBC.

The reason this news is so noteworthy is that Evening Grosbeak numbers have been on a mysterious decline over the past 20 years.

The bird is a large finch with a breeding area mainly in Canada and the Western United States. The male has a bright yellow body and forehead with a white patch on its wing while the female is a muted brownish-yellow with the same white spot on its wing.

The GBBC said that about 60,000 bird watchers reported 596 species but the increase in grosbeak numbers is not the result of more participants.

Evening Grosbeaks were seen with much more frequency in the northwestern part of the United States and Canada. The great news is that this same uptick is consistent with the data of another project called FeederWatch, which has people with bird feeders submit information on bird visits.

Before jumping to any conclusions, the GBBC is waiting until these numbers are further supported by more counts, because this year’s results could potentially be contributed to other things. For example, it could just be a one-time fluctuation. Also, Evening grosbeaks are irruptive species, meaning large numbers sometimes move out of their range if there isn’t enough food, so it’s possible the birds are simply going to areas they normally wouldn’t.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.