BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 7:12 AM
One unusual winter visitor to Oklahoma from northern and western pine forests is the red crossbill.
Few or none may be seen in many years, but when the pine seed crop fails, crossbills fan out across large portions of the country in search of food.
Their distinctively shaped, dramatically crossed mandibles look unwieldy, but are efficiently designed for extracting seeds from pinecones. Bird feeders with sunflower seeds also attract their attention.
Indications are that this winter offers a better than usual opportunity to encounter red crossbills.
This week in eastern Oklahoma
Lesser Yellowlegs, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal
Yellow Rail, snowy owl
Dan Reinking is a senior biologist at the Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville. Contact him at email@example.com or see tulsaworld.com/suttoncenter.
The Bird Watch list is excerpted from the Date Guide to the Occurrences of Birds in Oklahoma, which lists normal dates of occurrences for bird species by seven geographic regions of the state. It is a publication of the Oklahoma Bird Records Committee of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society. For full information about the guide and how to report unusual bird sightings at unusual times of year go to tulsaworld.com/okbirds.
A red crossbill rests in a conifer near Guymon. STEVE METZ / Courtesy