Bird of the Week – Eurasian Bullfinch

There are some birds that are vagrants, birds that turn up in Alaska but have no business – or anyone to breed with – in the area. Maybe the migration instructions in their brains got wired wrong; maybe they are pioneers trying to expand the range. We’ll be looking at some vagrants intermittently the next few months.

This isn’t a very good photo, but it is unique in one way: it’s the one of the first bird photos WC took. In 1996, an Eurasian Bullfinch female turned up at a feeder on Rosie Creek Road, outside of Fairbanks, in the dark of winter.

Eurasian Bullfinch Female, Fairbanks, 1996

Eurasian Bullfinch Female, Fairbanks, 1996

Among birders, this was the equivalent of a four alarm fire. Hard core birders came from as far away as New Jersey to add this species to the list of bird species they had seen in North America. The young woman in whose yard the bird would feed opened her house to strangers, even when she was at work and away from her home, so that birders could sit in a warm cabin instead of outside in the cold.

This Bullfinch is the most significant factor in how WC became interested in bird photography. In a real sense, this little passerine is the reason you’ve seen the 150-plus bird species here at the Mudflats that preceded it.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.