Migratory Irruptions

I was drinking tea and talking to a good friend from Bozeman, Montana and her feeders were mugged by Gray-crowned Rosy Finches and Common Redpolls for about an hour.

I saw a bunch of owls, including Hawk Owl, (four times close) that winter. During that same winter Ruffed Grouse and Willow Ptarmigan were numerous in the city (small as far as cities go) of Fairbanks, Alaska; back then a very cold place.

Two years ago in Bozeman, Montana, White-winged Crossbills were throughout the town in fact I almost stepped on a male bird.

For raptors and owls prey must cooperate. Prey was abuddant here that winter, to the North prey was crashing downwards. The primary prey for raptors in this case was lemmings in the North and voles down here. The winter before that it seemed like Rough Legged Hawks and Merlin were abundant in town, and near town. Mr. Hawk, himself, Steve Hoffman, predicted it would be that way, and it was.

Migratory irruptions are described in my old ornithology text (still have it). I count that (irruption) as something worth seeing. This might be an irruptive year up here for some bird species. Climactic coditions predict it to be so. We will see. While I can I will certainly be looking for an irruption around here and I will describe this phenomina in writing.
Matt

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