Unusual birds have been visiting Kokanee Creek Park: the White-winged Crossbill. Our area is on the southern edge of its range. I have seen it around here a few times, but never in the same place.
The bird is named for its crossed bill: its two mandibles do not meet at a point, although more of the birds have the lower mandible crossing to the right than the left. When born their beak isn’t crossed but becomes crossed about the time they fledge.
This odd adaptation results from how it extracts its favourite food: the seeds from conifer cones. This search for cone seeds, in turn, causes it to roam widely over the northern woods. It seems to not have a regular nesting place or time. It has been seen to nest any time in the year where there is a good supply of food.
This is either an adult female or a juvenile male. Photo by Cynthia Fraser.
The adult male’s body is red but black wings have two white bars. Photo by Cynthia Fraser.