Each year birders eagerly await the Winter Finch Forecast, holding their breath as they hope for what is known as a “good year”. The winter of 2020-21 was not just a good year, it a mega year for irrupting winter finches. But, what exactly are winter finches and can someone please explain an irruption? These questions and more will be answered as Matt Young discusses this migration phenomenon, the natural history of the various species and speculates on when our next irruption year will be.
Matt Young, President and Founder of the Finch Research Network, has been observing and enjoying nature since a very young age. He was a Regional Editor of the Kingbird for 10 years, the state ornithological journal in New York, was an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Studies at SUNY-Cortland, and currently teaches an Intro to Birding class for Cornell University and is the Board Chair at The Wetland Trust. He worked at the Cornell Lab for more than 15 years where he did extensive fieldwork for the Lab’s Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers atlas projects, and was project lead on the Lab’s first Finch Irruptive Bird Survey for Bird Source in 1999. He was the Collections Management Leader/Audio Engineer at the Macaulay Library ~12 years where he edited sounds for several Merlin packs around the world in addition to being the lead audio engineer on several guides. The Finch Research Network is dedicated to the study and conservation of finches and their habitats globally.