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A flock of eighteen or more Red-Crossbills were hanging out on my parent’s property when a male ( orange to yellow shades) and female ( yellow) landed fairly close on a branch where I managed to capture them.
A Crossbill’s odd shaped bill helps it get into tightly closed cones. Their biting muscles are stronger than the muscles used to open the bill, so the Red Crossbill places the tips of its slightly open bill under a cone scale and bites down. The crossed tips of the bill push the scale up, exposing the seed inside.
The Red Crossbill is so depend upon conifer seeds it even feeds them to its young. Consequently, it can breed any time if finds a sufficiently large cone crop, even in the depths of winter.
Taken on May 12/13 on south Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada
Camera, Canon 7D
Lens, Canon Ef100-400mm L IS USM lens.
Tripod, Manfrotto, including 498RC2 Ballhead.
Taken at 1/500’s at f/7.1 at – 1/3 Ev, 375mm, iso 800, man white bal. Edited in Lightroom. No cropping.