Monday, May 12, 2008

Coastal BC Birds: Crossbill


Each time I go up the hill to check on my potato patch I hear birds in the bushes and trees near my compost pile. They are quick and elusive, but a few days ago I was able to capture a few on film.

The most evident thing was their crossed bills. After an Internet search, I have identified them as Crossbills, an apt name. I am not sure about the species, but think it is a Red Crossbill.

Crossbills (genus Loxia) are members of the Finch family. Based on the coloring, I believe this is a female. Males tend to be reddish in color and females a greenish-yellow. The crossed nature of their beaks is specialized to allow them to remove seeds from conifer cones. I noticed the remains of cones on the ground next to the compost pile. I had assumed it was the work of a squirrel, but it must have been the Crossbills sitting in the trees cracking open the cones to extract the tasty seeds.

Maybe the next trip up the hill I will be quiet enough to capture a few more shots. Do you have any spring bird photos to share? Let us know and give us a link to your site. -- Margy

1 comment:

  1. yes the crossbills are beautiful and seem to be plentiful this year as to a lot of the smaller property right now is being innindated with American Gold Finch, Purple finch, Golden crowned Sparrow just to name a's so wonderful to see...I love your photos....