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Paul Higgins | profile | all galleries >> Crossbill, White-winged tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Crossbill, White-winged

Huntsville, Weber County, Utah. February 26, 2009
oops, I made a mistake. One of the females is a Red Crossbill, you'll notice it doesn't have a white wing.(image#10) Double oops, Kris Purdy say's the Red Crossbill is a male, here's why "I'm pretty sure the Red Crossbill(s) in three images in the bunch is a male. It may even be an adult male. Two sources imply this. First, here's what my 2nd Edition of the National Geo Field Guide says: "Plumage highly variable. Most males are reddish overall, brightest on crown and rump; but may be pale rose or scarlet or largely yellow. Males always have red or yellow on throat. Most females are yellowish-olive; may show patches of red. Throat of female is always gray except in small Alaska form...". See your image at Liz Poulter's feeder for a bird I believe is definitively a female: http://www.pbase.com/phiggins/image/109467456 The other source indicating today's Red Crossbill is a male is the species account from Cornell's Birds of North America: "Adult males that complete breeding and molt before Jul could be predominantly yellow; yellow feathers seen replacing red plumage (T. Hahn pers. comm.). Males acquire red feathers if molt occurs after Jul. The tendency of many authors to identify yellow males as juveniles is generally in error (Groth 1993a), but may be correct in some cases if buff secondary-coverts are present...)." I studied the wing feathers closely and couldn't determine anything from them. Juveniles should keep their wing feathers up to a year and a half and they might appear quite worn. But since these birds nest at any time of year, a juvenile might have hatched less than a year ago and still have yellowish and red feathers. I'd rather put my money on an adult male. Of course, an "I don't know" is always good wisdom, considering what my Smithsonian field guide says under the female's image: "Field assessment of age and sex difficult, many show the 'wrong' characters." "
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Crossbill  White-winged D-044A.jpg
Crossbill White-winged D-044A.jpg
Crossbill,  White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill  White-winged D100.jpg
Crossbill White-winged D100.jpg
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, Red (Female)
Crossbill, Red (Female)
Crossbill, White-winged
Crossbill, White-winged
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