Red Crossbills on Methuselah Trail, White Mtns

Observers: Chris and Rosie Howard, Barb Schuck
Remote Name:
Date: 06/04/2006
Time: 11:22 PM -0400


Today, 4 June, around noon we were excited to see a flock of at least 20 Red Crossbills on the Methuselah Trail. They were all immatures, some totally gray and streaky (juveniles), some with washes of yellow, some with washes of orange, and some a mottley mix of stray orange or yellow feathers here or there, giving them a somewhat checkerboard appearance. We have hiked extensively in this range over the years and have only seen two together at one time. The birds were feeding heavily in one particular Bristlecone, and on the ground underneath. Twice, we saw a crossbill drop to the ground, pick up a cone, and toss it down the slope. We were delighted with these antics, but were doubly delighted when we saw them pick up cones almost as big as themselves and fly up into the branches with it. There they held the cone against the branch with their foot and worked at it furiously. Sometimes we could see the red interior of their mouths. We observed them for half an hour and they were joined by greater and greater numbers. No full adults appeared.