About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Photo Share: White-winged Crossbills

Photo of White-wing in gum tree by Paul Hurtado
Ted Black from the field guide Birds of Michigan writes: The White-winged Crossbill's well-designed mandibles combine function with artistry. The Red Crossbill is the only other bird in North America with this unique overlapping bill adapted for prying open pine cones.

The presence of a foraging group of White-winged Corssbills high in a spruce tree creates an unforgettable shower of conifer cones and crackling and chatter. 

In mid-Michigan, the population in the winter depends on how well the seed crop is in Canada. Look for them from October to March at the tippy top of spruce, fir, tamarack, and gum trees.

When not foraging for seeds, White-winged Crossbills often drop to the ground to drink from shallow forest pools or lick salt from winter roads. Unfortunately this roadside activity often results in crossbill fatalities.

Adult males tend to be red or pinkish in color, and females green or yellow, but there is much variation.

Related Articles:
Photo of White-wing in pinetree by Paul Hurtado
Fun facts about White-winged Crossbills http://goo.gl/DatZcy
10 Winter Finches in Michigan http://goo.gl/kWFOFk
How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://goo.gl/zfuH3P
Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/pEuMKo 
House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://bit.ly/opD7kb
Bird of the week: Pine Siskin http://bit.ly/qNqIuK
Birdwatching: Look for the Out-of-Towners http://bit.ly/q6Pkco 

If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com with a description and permission to post it on the Friday Photo.