Pine Grosbeak , Collafirth, Shetland -
Photo from Phil Woollen's excellent 'A Wirral Birders Blog'
The Pine Grosbeak is distributed across the boreal areas of Northern Europe, Northern Russia, Alaska, Canada and North America where the small amount of racial variation involves size and the intensity of colour in the adult males. Across this extensive range the species is a fairly common bird found in confer, Alder and Birch forest where it feeds on a range of berries, seeds and in the summer, insects. The Pine Grosbeak is a sedentary or patially migratory species prone to erratic eruptive movements to the south of its range. These movements are driven, in a similar manner to Waxwing, by a failure in the winter food supply with, in some winters, most of the population remaining close to the breeding grounds and in others entire populations may move hundreds of kilometres south from the typical wintering grounds. The autumn of 2012 experienced such a movement with many hundreds of birds being seen in Scandinavia from August through November, with this large movement hopes were high for a long awaited British record although many hoped for a mainland bird.
- More photos of this bird can be seen on Rebecca Nason's website.
- Some additional great photos and videos of a number of races here on the Internet Bird Collection.