While observing the Allen’s Hummingbird in Babe Webster’s Yard last Thursday, Thanksgiving, I watched and recorded a Red Crossbill call from the tops of different trees throughout the yard. The bird was a lifer for me as I’ve only heard them flying over the Cape Henlopen SP Hawk Watch back at the end of September. I was able to record call as I was taking a video of the Allen’s and the crossbill. Here’s the video:
I sent the video to Matt Young of Cornell, who confirmed the bird as a Type 2 Red Crossbill. Matt is studying Red Crossbills and published an article on eBird earlier this fall. Also, links to more of his publications can be seen over at the ABA Blog. Here’s what Matt had to say about the bird and the spectrogram he sent me:
“Nice find, a Type 2. There have been a few type 2’s in Massachusetts, but no others in the Northeast. Type 2 have been steadily moving eastward though out over the Plains. In the past month I have them confirmed from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Illinois.”
Matt was discussing the sighting with Doug Gross ,from the PA Game Commission, and it could be the first documented record of a Type 2 Red Crossbill for Pennsylvania!
Type 2 Red Crossbills have been documented to breed across the country, but are more dense in the western portion. Here’s more on the geographic range (source: American Museum of Natural History):
“In the East, breeding by this form has been documented in the southern Appalachian mountains, the state of New York, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Breeding may also extend to the pine barrens of New Jersey and other coniferous forests along the Atlantic coast. In the Rocky Mountain west, this form is relatively common in conifer forests at all elevations, including foothill areas where other forms are less frequent. In the Pacific Northwest, this crossbill is found mainly on the drier east side of the Cascades, but it also occurs along the Pacific coast of Oregon and California (including San Francisco’s Presidio and Golden Gate Park). It is perhaps the most common crossbill in the Sierra Nevada and other California ranges, as well as the Mogollon Rim of Arizona and various mountains of New Mexico. Type 2 birds are probably frequent in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Occasional crossbills in southern pine forests, from east Texas and Mississippi to the Carolinas, are likely to be of this form.”
Make sure to send any Red Crossbill recordings to Matt Young to confirm the bird or birds to “Type.” After confirmation, enter your sightings to “Type” in eBird! Recordings can be sent to may6 A cornell DOT edu.
Curious about what the other winter finches are up to? Check out the Status of Winter Finch Irruptions in the Northeast!
The video was taken with a Samsung Stratosphere on a Vortex Skyline 80 Spotting Scope using the Phone Skope Universal Adapter set up.