Monday, 30 September 2013


This year I worked on a small project with one of my favourite birds - the crossbill. I was blessed to have them nesting just 200m from my house in a small collection of pines, though due to their extremely secretive nature I only even discovered them once the juvenile had fledged! I had seen a a pair earlier in the year but presumed them to be passage birds! Thankfully the juvenile was unable to fly at the time of discovery to so there was sufficient evidence to suggest they had nested close-by.

The juvenile bird.

Once I had discovered the birds, it was a question of photographing them. Being pine-seed feeders they never fed below the 50m canopy of the pine trees and so I set myself a challenge. After doing a lot of research I learnt that due to their somewhat dry diet they require large quantities of water; so I promptly set about flooding small patches of no avail! After a little while I discovered why, the birds had already found a watering hole in the most desirable place imaginable - the pavement! A leaking water main had caused a fraction of water to spill on the concrete and this proved irresistible to the crossbills!

Long waits were required (not great during GCSEs!) but thankfully the local Goldcrest gave me some company...

The pavement was hardly the most natural of areas but it was still a rare chance to see these beautiful birds up close!

Female Crossbill

Female Crossbill

Male Crossbill

I was really after some shots off the concrete but as time moved on, so did the crossbills; the juvenile was soon flying well and so the birds really had no reason to stay. This shot of the male is all I managed:

As always thanks for reading!

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