They showed up on May 5, 2012 (see part one of my story here), and stayed, had babies, and brought them to my feeders. Then, not long after I published the sequel, on July 17th to be exact, they took flight and are gone...
That was the day I saw them "swarming" - at least 30, maybe more, came flying by the house - hovering over the feeder area but not landing.
They briefly touched down in the tops of our coastal pines.
|Flock of Red Crossbills|
Then the whole flock lifted off and headed north along the beach. And I wondered again, is this the last day?
But no, there were at least 2 of them in the feeders - they'd been there the whole time this thing was happening.
The male showed off some tongue-action on the niger feeder.
As I learned earlier, Red Crossbills are nomadic, following their preferred food availability. Someone on the Oregon birders email list (OBOL) noted that the area Spruce trees seem heavily laden this year. I snapped a photo today while out and about - the Spruce trees at Cutler City had huge amounts of cones... but no Crossbills.
|Spruce top-heavy with cones|
Since the day of the swarm, I've had one male at my feeder - he comes every day, several times throughout the day.
Feeding his spouse as she sits on their nest? I hope so.