Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Pine Grosbeak - Pinicola enucleator
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General Comments This "winter finch" breeds across the boreal zone of both North America and Eurasia. Owing to warmer winters in recent decades, the southward irruptions of this species have not ranged as far southward as they did in the 1970's and earlier, and numbers moving south into the northern states have declined. North Carolina, always well to the south of usual irruptions, has a good handful of sight reports of Pine Grosbeaks, but sadly no photos or specimens, and few if any reports had/have been published with full details. Though the NC BRC had kept the species on the Official/Definitive List for several decades, owing to at least three reports with some details, in 2013 the Chair of the NC BRC held a vote to determine whether the species should remain on the Definitive List, be downgraded to the Provisional List, or removed from the State List entirely. The verdict was to move the species to the Provisional List. The last published report of the species in the state was in 1977; thus, it is looking more and more difficult with each passing year to add the species to the Definitive List with a photograph.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Provisional
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Accidental, if correct. Five birds were seen at Mount Olive (Wayne) on 9-10 Apr 1962 [Chat 26:77 link]. A second report is an adult male near Wilson on 20 Dec 1965 [Chat 33:1-2 link].
Piedmont Formerly casual to accidental, if correctly identified; now accidental. Three were reported on the Morrow Mountain CBC, on 29 Dec 1967 [Chat 33:1-2 link]. Two were seen out of season at Raleigh on 30 May 1970 [Chat 34:53-58 link], with a description of the birds provided. Just as shocking was a report of 24 at Clemmons (Forsyth) on 27 Mar 1976 [Chat 40:73 link]. Lastly, one male was seen at Greensboro on 17 Apr 1977 [Chat 41:101 link]
Mountains Formerly casual to accidental, if correctly identified; now accidental. A report of two at Highlands (Macon) on 13 Sep 1951 [Chat 33:1-2 link] seems too early to be correct. A total of six birds were reported from Roan Mountain (Mitchell) on 30 Nov 1969 [Chat 34:53-58 link]. Two males and three females were seen at a feeder at Franklin (Macon), on 4 Jan 1973; and a pair was again there on 5 March [Chat 37:110 link].
Finding Tips
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Attribution LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2014-05-16], LeGrand[2012-10-23]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.