White-winged Crossbills

I visited our neighbours’ yard earlier this week because they have excellent habitat for winter finches — lots of mature conifers and fruit trees. There were some White-winged Crossbills flying over, and they landed in the spruce trees near the house.

The crossbills were at the top of the spruce trees prying open the pinecones. An individual crossbill can eat up to 3,000 conifer seeds a day. It takes a huge amount of seeds to feed a large flock of crossbills, so they move to wherever food is plentiful throughout the year.

A male and female White-winged Crossbill,IMG_9919 IMG_9923Did you know that lower mandible crossing to the right is approximately three times more common than lower mandible fix crossing to the left. Next time you see a flock of White-winged Crossbills, check to see which way their bills cross! IMG_9926IMG_9916The undertail of the crossbill,IMG_9930IMG_9947I’m hoping that the crossbills stick around for a while longer since I’d like to get some better photos of them, and count them during the Vermilion Christmas Bird count on December 19th!IMG_9933IMG_9932