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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Crossbill

This afternoon Doug called me from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with another White-winged Crossbill sighting.

I debated (for about a minute) whether I really wanted to go back into the cold. It took me about 25 minutes to cut across Prospect Park, to the back entrance of the botanic garden. When I arrived at the stand of spruce and hemlocks that edge the Japanese Garden, nobody was around. I called Doug and asked, "How long after I hung up the phone did the bird take off?" He replied, "About 2 minutes." Doug, Bob and Rob Bates were several yards south of me, where the bird had flown. I caught up with them and walked the icy, slate path around the pond. At one point I heard the crossbill calling from the general vicinity where it was first observed. Doug and Bob decided to leave, but showed me exactly where it had been earlier. As they were pointing out the spot, I looked up the tree a little higher. There it was, prying open pine cones. This male bird's plumage seemed more on the orange side of the spectrum than usual. Adult males in Spring are brilliant red. Another odd characteristic of this particular bird was its lack of tail feathers (it's obvious near the end of the video). I pointed out that that was why he ended up back in the same tree, he can only fly in circles ;-)

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