Over the last several months there have been a number of postings about the presence of the Red Crossbill at feeders. On two previous occasions I attempted to see them but had no luck. Recently, a posting from Chamberlains showed up on the Discussion Group. I contacted the poster and asked if I might drop by. With a nod of approval I decided to go, despite the rain, fog and very high winds. I knew if I waited for a good day it would be very likely that the Red Crossbills might move on.
When we first arrived at the yard with the bird feeder, the only birds around were Pine Siskins. We waited and watched for about 30 minutes. Then, it was time to implement Plan B: Drive around the neighborhood to look for the birds and hope that while we were gone the crossbills would move back into the feeder zone. After about 10 minutes of cruising around, we returned and parked in the driveway between two feeders.
Within moments, we spotted a male and female perched in the tree. We waited quietly and watched. Soon they dropped down to the feeder and then one-by-one others came in. There ended up being eight Red Crossbills in all, four males and four females. They were alternating between the feeders and the ground. The wait had been well worth it because for me it was the first time to see this bird. These are not the prettiest birds that I have ever seen but they are really interesting.
The male has rusty red plumage while the female is more rusty orange. Both have matching color rumps. Their large crossbills look like a formidable weapon. I would not want to tangle with one of these birds.
However, that didn't stop this bold male Purple Finch from trying to move in to have a feed of seeds. The female Red Crossbill immediately objected to his arrival.
The Purple Finch tried to stand his ground as they fussed back and forth. Unfortunately, he was over-powered by this female who wouldn't leave him alone. Within moments he flew off to wait for another time.
The Red Crossbills stayed for about 45 minutes and then in a flash they flew off. We decided not to await their return because it could have been quite a while. I definitely went home satisfied that I had the opportunity to see so many Red Crossbills and for so long. Not all bird sightings last so long!
Thank goodness for the many bird watchers who share information about birds in their yards. It makes viewing possible for those who may not have an opportunity to see a special bird else where.