Monday, November 19, 2012

Early Christmas Crossbill Gift From Canada

The forecast for a winter finch irruption this year has been accurate so far. This Fall I've seen dozens of Pine Siskins and Purple Finches. On Saturday,  I had a close up look at dozens of White-winged and Red Crossbills at Hammonasset State Park. The top photo shows the male and female White-winged Crossbills.
The crossed bill on these birds allows them to extract seeds from  pine cones.
Sometimes they seem to argue over cones like kids arguing over a bag of potato chips.
I had a little more difficulty getting close to these Red Crossbills.They would suddenly take off then circle around a few times before landing in a tree again. There are several different types of Red Crossbills which care best distinguished by analysis of tape-recorded flight calls. That's not something I'll be trying any time soon.

It's nice to have the crossbills visiting Connecticut this winter. It seems they are running low on food sources up north. Those crafty Canadians must have used up all the pine cones making decorative baskets!
click to play -click right corner for full screen


Rohrerbot said...

Nice Larry. Congrats on the great images and video. They must have been a fun spot:) I'd love to see these birds down the road:) Thanks for sharing!

Erica Houskeeper said...

Very nice to see these, Larry! Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I've been watching for them too, but no luck yet. Your photos are terrific!

Larry said...

Roherbot-Hammonasset is always good for birds and crossbills are great to watch.

Erica- Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Lynne-Lynne.The winter fincches are coming in heavy this year.The crosbills wander around so it might take a while but I think you'll have your chance to see them.

TexWisGirl said...

they're so beautiful! thanks for sharing these.

and thanks for stopping at my place and leaving a comment, too! :) happy thanksgiving!

Hilke Breder said...

Awesome pics, Dave! I love the action! You saw a lot more than I did. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Nice pictures! We have had Red and White-Winged Crossbills, and other rare "finches" like Evening Grosbeak, in incredible #s down here in Maryland. Very uncommon for our state.

Good Birding!
Warren and Lisa

Unknown said...

I eould not be at all cross if I saw Cross Bills.. I never have! Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Hi Larry,
You got some terrific pictures. Glad you got to see the Crossbills at Hammonasset. I've made it over there for three Sundays in a row and FINALLY saw the Red Crossbills this weekend. Up to then, I had seen only the White Winged. Both are new sightings for me, so I enjoyed seeing both kinds. I've also heard there were Redpolls and a Black Headed Gull there...(neither of which I've spotted yet.) Hope all is well with you!

Larry said...

Warren and Lisa-They've had some Evening Grosbeaks around Connnecticut too.I hope I get a chance to see them this year.


Lin-Hammonasset is a place worth going back to several times a year.Congratulations on the new sightings.They are a unique species compared to other birds you see in Connecticut and interesting to watch when they are feeding on the cone seeds.

Cathy said...

Wonderful pictures, Larry.

I read your post about the storage issue.

I love the large format you use. Hope it's smooth sailing from here.

Larry said...

Cathy-thanks-I think I'll be okay if I reduce the pixels to 800-thanks.

Ruth said...

Great closeups. I hope to see winter finches here too if they haven't all crossed the border. We have plenty of pinecones this year. All I have seen are Pine Siskins so far.