Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Evening Grosbeak Winter Movements Study

Evening Grosbeaks are being studied in western Pennsylvania by banding individuals and attaching Motus nanotags to some (photo by Paul Konrad).

Winter populations of Evening Grosbeaks have been present some years in Forest County, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest at a site in the town of Marienville. The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program documented the Evening Grosbeaks at this site during 6 of the past 13 years (during irruption seasons) with more than 100 recorded during the winter of 2012-13. During this study, researchers banded and tagged some Evening Grosbeaks using nanotag transmitters that provide location information through the Motus wildlife tracking system. Evening Grosbeaks from this study should still have color-bands and biologists request any sightings of these birds to be relayed to

The Evening Grosbeaks raised a number of questions: 1) Why do evening grosbeaks keep returning to this area? 2) Do they have true site fidelity? 3) Where do these irruptive populations return to nest? 4) How far and wide do they roam throughout the regional landscape during winter? 5) What can we learn about the timing of their movements?

The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History are still obtaining and processing Motus data for the Evening Grosbeaks they have banded and tagged, and researchers plan to continue the project, hopefully deploying more transmitters on Evening Grosbeaks irrupting south into western Pennsylvania. They are also interested in opportunities to track this species of grosbeaks in other locations.

For more information about this project see Wintering Evening Grosbeak Movements - FINCH RESEARCH NETWORK (