White-winged Crossbills - Cass County
jtwuepp at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 31 10:04:25 EST 2009
On 31 January 2009 at about 9:30am, I located about 100 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILS among a cone-heavy row of Douglas Fir trees, along Garver Lake Road, near Edwardsburg in CASS COUNTY, MICHIGAN. This is just a stones throw north of the Michigan-Indiana state line.
This is located immediately south of the intersection of US-12 (Old Chicago Road) and Garver Lake Road. The trees aline Garver Lake Road and the Colonial Acres Mobile Home Park. Right near the intersection are some Colorado Blue Spruce.
There are at least a dozen Douglas Firs, with cones from top to bottom. Each tree had roughly 10-12 WW CROSSBILLS opening the cones, which could be heard from the road.
I could see at least 25 CROSSBILLS on the gound eating seeds that had fallen onto the snow.
This is the most I've seen of the species (biggest flock) outside Ontario, Canada or the UP.
Also, this invasion peaked my curiosity for similar invasions of the species in Michigan's past. After checking my ornithological library (Michigan records), I can't find a season in which the species was so numerous and widespread. (Even back in the 1880s, when people went birding on their way to school 10 miles [one-way] on barefeet through the snow! ha-ha!).
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