Saturday, March 03, 2007

male Red Crossbill

Yesterday, while enroute to the city, I noticed a few small birds on the road ahead of me and as my car got closer they all flew away except this one. Upon using my binoculars I was both surprised and pleased to see that the one remaining bird was a male Red Crossbill. I don't see this species too often as they are nomadic by nature; so this was a bit of a sighting treat. What was immediately noticable to me was the positioning of the head of the Crossbill when it was picking up gravel. It would lay its head sideways and seemed to be using its tongue to help pick up the particles from the road. Crossbills are specialist eaters of seeds of conifer cones and the unusual positioning of their crossed bills at their tips makes it easier for them to extract seeds from the cones.
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