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White-winged Crossbills - A Better Look

Published January 27, 2013
Tags: General Observations, White-winged Crossbill, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Song Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow

I've been wanting to get a better look at a White-winged Crossbill since my mildly successful, December 15th first-time sighting in Rochester (Rochester Bound).  I was given permission by some friendly, bird-savy Elma folks to hang out in their backyard where a small flock of White-winged Crossbills have been frequenting since December.  I tried a couple of weeks ago, but I had no luck that day.  Today was much better.

A pleasant half hour passed quickly while I chatted with Chuck in his backyard.  We had nice views of several Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Dark-eyed Juncos. When I first arrived, I saw a Song Sparrow from my car in the front of the house. That was a nice treat!  After Chuck went into the house, I soon spotted 2 beautiful males - and I'm pretty sure 1 female - up in the tall spruce tree.  They hung out there for awhile, mingling with several Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins while I took as many pictures as my freezing fingers could manage. They eventually joined the group at the sunflower tube feeders and I got slightly closer looks at those gorgeous males.

About 5 minutes later, though, all took flight when a Red-tailed Hawk swooped through the yard. Darn! The flurry died down soon after the hawk gracefully floated away, totally unconcerned with my disappointment. I waited a while longer, but the crossbills never returned.  BUT I had some great views today and I thank Chuck R and his wife for allowing me to see these beautiful birds!
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White-winged Crossbill (male)
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Hanging out in the spruce tree
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Such a handsome bird!
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Both males are in this shot
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At the feeders
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2 White-winged Crossbills alone at the feeders
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Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls, and the crossbills
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A very handsome Common Redpoll