Kia hora te manno
Kia whakapapa paumamu te moana
Kia tere te Karohirohi

May the calm be widespread
May the sea glisten like the greenstone
And may the glimmer of summer dance across your pathways

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A week or so ago I noticed a couple of birds at the feeder I had not seen before and looking at their color shape and body size, I thought they could be juvenile Grosbeaks who hadn't grown into their adult colors yet.

You can imagine my delight and surprise, when I downloaded the pictures to my PC and took a closer look. The first thing which came to my attention, was the shape of the beak, "that is not a Grosbeak I am seeing" I told myself, so out came the 'bird book' for positive identification.

Previously, I had seen a picture in my book of "Birds of Washington State" of Crossbills, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think any would be visiting my garden.

Red Crossbills are finches with highly specialized, crossed bills and long, pointed wings. Male Red Crossbills are brick-red with black wings and no white wing-bars. Females are greenish-yellow with black wings and no wing-bars. Juveniles are streaked brown. The bill size of Red Crossbills varies considerably and correlates with distinct habitat and food preferences as well as flight calls. These characteristics can be used to split Red Crossbills into eight distinct types, and it is likely that the species will be divided into multiple species in the future.

Because of their nomadic behavior, it is difficult to specify locations where Red Crossbills may be found. They can be abundant in Washington when there are good cone crops, and thousands of birds sometimes wander into the lowlands and coast from late summer through winter. However, their presence throughout Washington varies annually. So I may not see any again at my feeders. I feel fortunate to have seen, and taken pictures of the ones who did visit.


meemsnyc said...

That is so cool! We always get excited when we see neat birds in the garden. But I am never fast enough with my camera to photograph them. We saw an Oriole the other day and it was so pretty!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

I love the fact that we bloggers get to view all different birds from over the world through other bloggers eyes.

How totally wonderful.

We have had some house finches, love them, and now the babies look like they are coming to the feeder also.

I am so excited to see them, after all, I donated parts of my hanging baskets to their nest.


Bangchik said...

It is nice to see birds coming and picture them. We are not so lucky here.., urban setting is too foreign for the birds except the crows. ~bangchik

Peeoknee said...

Awesome, your like me when I see a new bird at the feeder. Quick run and get the camera. It says these birds nest when and where they find crops, they are nomadic and erratic in their nesting times, because coniferous trees seed at varying times in different areas. Information from the 'National Audubon Society North American birdfeeder handbook :) Thanks for a great picture of this bird. They don't come here.

Rosey said...

Awesome! We had some crossbills here in the spring. It was the first time I had seen them here. It sure it rewarding when you get to see great creatures like this in your garden! Cool header with the Grosbeak. I love it!

Darla said...