Friday, 24 July 2015

Crossbill !!

Highlight of a ringing session at Billinge this morning was a juvenile Common Crossbill. I have seen singles and small parties fly over the site on 3 occasions already this month, including a group of 3 going south yesterday, so today's bird wasn't totally unexpected. However, it was a delight to catch one rather than just getting the usual fleeting view of a calling bird or birds flying over. I have ringed Crossbills before but not for a good many years; however, it is the first I have caught locally and hopefully won't be the last.

Juvenile Common Crossbill
Now that is a bill.
It may not be a showy red male but it is still a cracking bird.
Fault barring was present in the wing and tail and can even be seen in the tips of the upper tail coverts. Fault bars are caused by food shortages when the bird is growing feathers and leads to bands of discolouration. A shortage of food will also be the cause of the movements of the Crossbills I have seen recently and I am sure there will be many more to come this autumn.
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for the morning were: Blackcap 11; Willow Warbler 6 (1); Robin 1; Blue Tit (2); Great Tit 1; Goldfinch 3; Chaffinch 1; Crossbill 1. 

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