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What Is A "Superflight?"

Where Did These Invaders Come From?

Where Were They Going?

Was the 1997-98 Irruption More Significant for Some Winter Finches Than Others?

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What Do We Mean By "Invading"?

Every winter, birders across the continent hope the season will bring an influx of finches from the north, and the 1997-98 winter season presented us with perhaps the most outstanding finch year in recent history. Starting in mid-September, these species--Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Hoary Redpoll, Pine Siskin, and Evening Grosbeak as well as the Red-breasted Nuthatch--began moving south from their typical northern winter ranges in what is called an "irruption." These irruptions are thought to be associated with broad-scale changes in food seed supplies in their northern range, possibly after a particularly successful breeding season.

The 1997-98 irruption may well have been the largest in a decade.