Do songbirds pay a price for winter wandering?

During harsh winters, birds that eat conifer seeds sometimes leave their homes in northern forests and wander far from their normal ranges in search of food. A new study uses citizen science data to show for the first time that these winter movements lead to a decline in birds’ population density in their breeding range the following summer, suggesting that irrupting birds succumb to the difficulties of avoiding predators and finding food in unfamiliar landscapes.