Friday 31 August 2012

Red Crossbills on the move

While enjoying the adult female Thick-billed Kingbird the other day at Presqu'ile there was some talk about a movement a-foot of Red Crossbills in Ontario.  It seems that others had seen some flocks moving recently.  Sure enough, we (Ken, Brandon, Josh and I) had a flock of 18 birds go over us while on the beach at the start of the Owen Point trail.  After reading some comments on the ABA blog I see that the Midwest is also enjoying a movement of these birds (and Alan Wormington had a pair at Pelee). 

On James Bay, the crew at Long Ridge was apparently getting Red Crossbills quite regularly and we had a single bird fly over at Chickney Point (north of the Albany River).  Just yesterday, I had a flock of 15 flyover while I was at Carden.  Check out the eBird map for this fall to keep track of this movement.

Here are some screen shots from eBird to give an idea of the extent and how unusual the event is for August:

Red Crossbill records in eBird for August 2012 (as of 31 Aug)
Red Crossbill records in eBird for August 2011
Red Crossbill records in eBird for August between 2002 and 2011
 Speaking of nice birds while I was at Carden, we also had a single Dickcissel flyover first thing this morning!


  1. I'm seeing them multiple times daily in Algonquin.

    1. Hey Reuven,

      That's good to know. Were they mostly flyovers or are they feeding and singing. If so, it'd be interesting to know what they are eating since it sounds like they are a smaller-billed race- so maybe feeding on Tamarack, Hemlock or spruce? Out of the six summers I worked in Algonquin only in 2006 did we have Red Crossbills around in any numbers. That year they moved in in the last half of August and they were singing up a storm mostly from Hemlocks.

  2. Almost entirely flyovers, but did see several flocks land, all in pine, and at one point feeding on pine cones. Perhaps not the same birds that are being seen further south.