Below is one of the most forwarded emails in cyberspace, at least in the birding world. Each fall Ron Pittaway, from the Ontario Field Ornithologists, puts together a forecast of the distribution and abundance of winter finches in Ontario.
You can read the rest of my introduction from last year's post, all the information and background still holds true.
Here's Ron's general forecast for the upcoming 2008-09 winter season:
This winter's theme is where will crossbills go and will they irrupt south? Both species wandered widely this summer. Cone crops are poor in the Atlantic Provinces and fair to moderate in Western Canada. In Ontario, spruce crops are fair to good west and east of Lake Superior and in central Ontario such as Algonquin Park, but cone abundance diminishes rapidly northwards into the boreal forest. White pine (Ontario's provincial tree) has heavy cone crops in most areas. The hemlock crop is poor in central Ontario. The white birch crop is fair to good west and east of Lake Superior to Lake Ontario, but poor in the boreal forest. The mountain-ash (rowan berry) crop is excellent in Ontario and Western Canada, but poor in the Atlantic Provinces. Individual finch forecasts below apply mainly to Ontario, but adjacent provinces and states may find the forecast of interest. I also comment on three irruptive passerines and two boreal forest raptors.
This year, instead of posting the entire forecast here, I'll refer you to the eBird website where they've already uploaded it -- with images and proper web formatting, tasks I'm happy to turn over to someone else. I'll likely follow up in a couple of weeks when our own Matt Young posts his comments of how this will relate to central and western NY.