New Yard Bird: Red Crossbill!

This morning, after I got back from my morning forest run, I noticed movement in the tops of one of the Douglas-fir trees in our backyard. My first thought was “Crossbills!?” My second thought was “No, it cannot be.” The birds were very backlit, but their behaviour (voraciously eating seeds from the doug-fir cones), body size, flock size, and body placement while feeding all pointed to crossbills. I still wasn’t convinced until I finally saw a good outline of a bill, and it was crossed. It was CRISSCROSSED BILL.

Not thinking I’d have any luck at all getting photographs, I spent several minutes warbler-necking it in my backyard and simply watching them feed way up high. I haven’t had a new yard bird in many many months. In fact, I could not remember which number I was at. Apparently I’m now at bird #87.

The crossbills stuck around for more than 30 minutes, and after enjoying them through my bins for awhile, I thought I’d at least try to get a photo, even if it was a crappy photo that simply showed a bird’s silhouette. I actually wasn’t sure if the sighting would trigger a rare bird alert, and photos are always appreciated for those.

So I went inside and took some photos from my upstairs office window, and a few of them are not awful. Oh, and it’s Global Big Day, so this sighting seems fitting 🙂

Red Crossbill (male); Camas, Washington; May 8, 2021.
Red Crossbill (male); Camas, Washington; May 8, 2021.
Red Crossbill (male); Camas, Washington; May 8, 2021. This looks like an immature because of the patchy red-yellow.
Red Crossbill (male); Camas, Washington; May 8, 2021.
Female Red Crossbill; Camas, Washington; May 8, 2021. Or at least I think this is a female. I see some red, so this might be another immature male.

I’m still hoping for my first Bullock’s Oriole to visit my yard. I’ve got grape jelly in a feeder, and I have seen this species w/in 5 miles of my house. Somebody also saw one today in Lacamas Park, which is less than 1 mile from my house. I remain optimistic.

Stay tuned for a post about April birding in the Olympic Peninsula!

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