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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Red Crossbills, Easter Magic

 When you have a deep and meaningful experience with birds it's magical. My Easter gift was I got to spend an hour with a flock of Red Crossbills watching the intimate details of their life as they drank from puddles, ate, watched for danger, did sweet subsong, and constantly communicated with their jip-jip call notes. Their crossed bill is perfectly adapted for extracting conifer seeds from closed or open cones. In the third photo, you can see where the crossbill had inserted its bill into a Pitch Pine cone and deftly extracted a seed. You can see the seed in its seed coat on the tip of the crossbill’s tongue. It will then cradle the seed with its tongue in a special groove in its upper palate, then remove the seed from its coat and swallow it, yum.

Red Crossbill male

  Red Crossbill female

                                                        Red Crossbill with seed on its tongue

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