Saturday, January 8, 2011

White-winged Crossbill 2011

 While at the Fermeuse Feeder Fiesta last week, I had many surprises. The focus was on the Baltimore Oriole and the Dickcissel but much to my delight, this little female White-winged Crossbill showed up. I was so focused on the other birds that I didn't even notice this one until someone pointed it out.
 She sat quietly munching away at the suet cakes not making a sound. It is very common to first hear the White-winged Crossbill before seeing them, but not this one. Her mind was on having a great lunch. She doesn't have great dinner manners though and often looked around with lots of food stuck on her beak.

The White-winged Crossbill is common in Newfoundland and even breeds here year around. The male of this species is bright red and is a real "stunner." It is not unusual to see these birds on the sides of the road as they are drawn to the salt used to clear the snow and ice from the roads. Distant images of the male were posted in October 2010.

This little birds looks somewhat cuddly until the prominent crossbill, for which it is named, goes into action. I think it could inflict serious injury. With this crossbill, the bird is able to crack open seeds that it finds, and it uses it tongue to extract the seed from its casing.

This was my first opportunity to see a White-winged Crossbill at a feeder and get a really close look. I was really hoping that a male would fly in but that didn't happen this time. Since there is a lot of streaking on this little bird, it may be a juvenile.  The white bars on the wings don't seem to be as bright as an adult.

There is no doubt that seeing all of these special little birds warms up the winter winds and shortens the days.  A day birdwatching makes time evaporate!

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