Most of them were White-winged Crossbills. Red Crossbills were present in much smaller numbers. They are recognizable by their brick-red color with white only on their undertail coverts. The color on the White-winged Crossbills is more purple, as if dipped in red wine, very similar to the Purple Finch's. However it was easy to mistake one for the other if you just saw them from the front and didn't see their wings. They are messy eaters; many of them were feeding on the ground picking up dropped seeds. The "cross bills" refers to the peculiar shape of their bills which are well suited for wedging open the thick cone scales to extract the seeds.
The following photos all show White-winged Crossbills, the flashy males as well as the more subtly colored olive and gray females. The paler pinkish birds are immature males.
I got only a few photos of the Red Crossbills, all males.
The crossbills are included in this year's report on the winter finch irruption. For a very informative updated report see Tim Schreckengost's post on Thermal Birding.
-- and thank you for visiting my blog. I am also thankful for all the wonderful birds I was able to see this year. I hope everyone will participate in their area's Christmas Bird Count. We owe it to the birds!
those bills are just amazing. glad they know how to work them. :)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Theresa. You are right about those bills. They are better adapted than our kids with knife and fork!Delete
It looks like we're being treated to the same birds this winter. I'm looking forward to seeing Pine Grosbeaks this year too. Great photos and Happy Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Larry. Your shots are better than mine. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!Delete
Awesome birds and wonderful photos, Hilke!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Eileen. Happy Thanksgiving!Delete
how interesting and striking birds too. I think how difficult the cross-bill action might be but obviously no problem to them. Why so different a design to other birds/purpose?ReplyDelete
Thank you, Carole. Those birds are real specialists. Ihey wouldn't be able to survive in a world without pine cones :-)Delete
Sweet stuff Hilke! I'm hoping to see some of these towards the end of December when I visit Pennsylvania. Great shots!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Laurence! I wish you luck in finding Crossbills. We have plenty of pines in our area, but they seem to be bearing no cones this year.Delete
Bonita serie del Piquituerto,hace años que no veo esta especie.SaludosReplyDelete
Thank you, Isidro! I wish you luck in the future!Delete
The best Crossbills I've seen this year, they are awesome.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the compliment, Bob!Delete
Nice captures!! Strangely I'haven't seen any yet. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Gary. Keep your eyes out for pines with lots of cones. Good luck!Delete
Great minds and all last night I posted some shots of the Red Crossbills I saw last weet. I enjoyed seeing you were having an irruption as well.
All the best.
It is really interesting to see some of your birds. From FindlayReplyDelete
Great photos and the color of the birds is beautiful.ReplyDelete
Very nice photos! I have never seen this bird before. It has beautiful colours and a very special beek, I understand.ReplyDelete
The crossbills have such lovely colouring. I sure hope I see some of these this winter. :))ReplyDelete
Lovely photos of this bird and a great post for WBW!ReplyDelete
Wonderful birds with a great beak - we dont have this sort of bird in Australia.ReplyDelete
Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW - Stewart M - Melbourne
Great images! I have yet to see a Crossbill. :(ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing yours!
What a deadly looking beak!!! Great pine tree shots - and anything RED will always grab my attention!ReplyDelete
Wow, that is some beak!!! What gorgeous colouration on this species~ReplyDelete
Hilke, you have some really fine photographs of the crossbills! I know they have been seen in my area but I have yet to have a sighting. They really do look quite lovely feeding in the pines.ReplyDelete
Passei para admirar suas fotografias.
Brasil ✿ °•.¸
.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫✫✫ MERRY CHRISTMAS!