Red Crossbills - IN TOWN
Started the day with a pair of Evening Grosbeaks visiting our feeder.
Then, while taking a break between mowing the front and back yard (retired
people still have chores), I noticed a pair of unusual birds, one
orangish/red, the other yellowish, eyeballing the birdbath from a perch on a
trellis. Suspecting Red Crossbill, a bird I have seen only once, I grabbed
my binos but couldn't confirm whether or not the bill was actually crossed.
By this time my wife came to check on all the commotion, so I positioned her
at the window with my binos and commanded her to "hold" the birds while I
dashed upstairs to grab my scope. At times like these she questions my
sanity but there was no time to quibble about how one "holds" a pair of
perched birds 50 feet away. Having bounded up and down the stairs with
amazing speed for a chunky old guy, I was faced with the challenge of
focusing the scope through mini blinds. But danged if it didn't work, I
could clearly see that the bills were crossed and was even able to lower the
scope for my wife to get a look before the birds flew. Her assessment...they
Actually, I believe I had three males and a female drinking from the birdbath
yesterday but they flew before I could focus my binos. My first thought
yesterday was that they were some particularly orangish House Finches. The
second thought was that they didn't look the right size and the color
distribution was wrong also. I did take my scope outside and scanned the
tops of the Fisher Golf Course conifers as they have a pretty impressive cone
crop in the tops of several trees. As usual, I was a step or two late as I
was able to catch only a glimpse of last of several departing birds.