Tuesday, November 15, 2005

There Could be Crossbills

Ever since I started hearing about the possible and actual irruptions of birds from the north, one group of birds has been on my mind: the crossbills. These are crazy looking, predominantly seed eating birds that have specially adapted bills that, as the name suggests, cross. I've never seen one, and I have tended to think that they were the stuff of imagination. But they are actually not uncommon birds to the north of me. They are regulars in Algonquin Park, for example, not all that far away.

This weekend, Terry Sprague pointed out that white-winged crossbills have already been seen at some Ottawa area feeders, and may be on their way here!!

Red polls may come late in the in the winter, as they often do. But pine siskins are in the area now. I haven't seen any here, and Terry says these birds are somewhat unreliable, prone to continuing south instead of spending the winter with us, but I remain hopeful.

The evening grosbeaks are still around--only occasionally deigning to accept my offerings, but if they stay that will change once the snow is on the ground. Tree sparrows are in the area, but only rarely coming to the feeders--again, snow will likely bring them in. Meantime the feeders are getting steady business from chickadees, goldfinches, nuthatches (white-breasted and red), downy and hairy woodpeckers, blue jays, a stray unidentified blackbird, and the occasional mourning dove.

And it's a good thing there's so much to see in the yard--I've been stuck home for a week in honour of the gun season for white-tailed deer, and the rest of this week to go. Every morning we are treated to a volley of gunfire between 7 and 8 a.m.--reminding me that discretion is the better part of valour.

No comments: