Instead, what I have is a yard full of Red Crossbills. These are not my usual yard birds, and when the first pair arrived I was thrilled, and couldn't grab the camera fast enough. Soon there were eight, then more were flying in each day. Soon they were at all the feeders, juggling for position with the thirty or so Common Redpolls who have been living in the yard all winter.
Red crossbills live almost exclusively in coniferous forests. They are so dependent on conifer seeds they even feed them to their young. As a result, they can breed any time they find a sufficient supply of food, even in the depths of winter. I am now keeping a close watch on my flock, looking for signs of the next generation in my spruce trees!
- Pat Bumstead - Bird Canada