A Crossbill for Christmas

Joel Willman, who lives on Hughitt Street in Superior, said he was surprised to see this white-winged crossbill feeding on spruce cones in his yard this morning:

It’s a lifer for Joel, he said, and he needed to check his Peterson Bird App to determine what it was.
It’s a nice find. The Twin Ports are on the southern fringe of territory for both the red and white-winged crossbills, the bird books say. (Red crossbills also can be found in the Western U.S.) They really do have crossed bills, which come in handy for prying out seeds. The books say white-winged crossbills are, indeed, partial to spruce and larch cones.
You’ll probably notice the shiny pinkish hue of the males and the bright white wing patches before you get a look at their bills.

Your bird pictures and observations joyously received at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

2 thoughts on “A Crossbill for Christmas

  1. Funny! It was probably the same one that was at our house (on Hammond Ave. in Superior) two weekends ago with three females! We, too, had to check the bird book, as I had never seen them before, either!

  2. Listening to Science Friday yesterday, the Cornell Ornithologist said this year that cross bills, redpolls, and grosbeaks (I have Pine Grosbeaks here) are surging south further as their regular cone diet is limited this year. I wrote about the early redpolls last month, and now the Pine grosbeaks here are in groups of 12-20. I can only hope to see some crossbills! I’ll try to get photos over the Christmas week.

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