On the 3rd try I finally got a really good look at the female Red Crossbill that I have been stalking since last weekend. She is a late riser, so I didn’t kill myself getting there super early only to find out that she had been spotted at 7:30am. Figures. But not having to work, and wearing heavy winter gear; I was prepared to camp out for hours if need be. Within 10 minutes of standing in the driveway, however, she appeared at the neighbor’s feeders. Karla spotted her first and we all got on her. She would fly back and forth from the feeder to a bare oak almost always with a male Goldfinch. I left shortly after 11 having seen her many times. Now, I need a good photo of her. I have hope, she has been here a week and does not appear to be going anywhere. This photo is one of the ones Karla Risdon took crawling commando style across her dining room floor as the Crossbill fed in a window feeder. Thanks Karla for letting me post it.
There is chasing, and then there is chasing, and then there is the possibly getting a lifebird a few blocks from my house. I got an email from the Director of Weis Ecology Center that she had a female RED Crossbill at her feeder. Red? Since she only lives around the lake from me, walking distance really, I threw on my coat, grabbed my camera and drove over. (I didn’t realize it was walking distance when I drove, OK?) When I approached the house, I could see activity on her back deck and after a few minutes of scanning the trees, her deck and her neighbor’s deck; I spotted a drab bird with a funky bill. I could only see the bird’s head popping above the deck railing. She flew, I smiled, Score! and settled in for a long wait at the end of her driveway. I wanted to see her again. But I never did.
Karla came out and invited me onto her deck and then we all went next door to her neighbor’s house and watched and waited from the comfort of their kitchen. The Crossbill was consorting with a flock of House Finches and a lone Pine Siskin. We watched hoardes of Finches come and go, eagerly scanning any and all birds high in the trees. But, to no avail. I am hopeful she is still around. I ended up spending a lovely day with Karla and her husband, met her charming neighbors, and watched and chatted about birds. My kind of Saturday.
Having things to do, a pie to bake and not wanting to wear out my welcome (as my mother would say), I left for home as the light lengthened and turned golden. When I got home, my own little flock of feathered neighbors were congregated in the forsythia next to the garage, (I swear they associate the sound of the garage door opening with food, like Pavlov’s dogs.) I filled my hand with black-oil sunflower seeds and stood stock-still as the bravest of the Chickadees landed on my outstretched fingers, selected a seed then flew to a sturdy branch to peck it open. I love that.