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  • osstewardship

Crazy Crossbills

#funfactfriday Did you know that there are different sub-types of Red Crossbills in North America that have different beaks depending on what type of conifer they prefer to feed on?

These birds have odd crossed beaks that give them leverage to open closed cones and get seeds that other birds can't access. Here in the Okanagan, we are likely to see Type 2 Red Crossbills (among others), as they are larger, with bigger beaks for prying huge Ponderosa cones and wider mouth grooves for shelling the larger seeds. We would very rarely see a Type 1 Crossbill, though they are common on the coast, because Type 1 Crossbills have smaller bills and mouth grooves that better fit into tiny Western Hemlock cones!

There are currently ten different 'Types" of Red Crossbill in North America, which can also be differentiated by slight changes in their call. Scientists are constantly analysing the behaviour of Red Crossbills to see if there are more sub types that we don't even know about yet!


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