Description: The male is bright pink! Seeing a pink bird in an evergreen in winter is quite a sight. The crossbill also has white wing bars and a slightly crossed bill, which enables it to extract seeds from cones. White-winged Crossbills have not entered Illinois in such huge numbers for decades. Wherever there are stands of spruces and other conifers, a flock of crossbills may be feasting. They always seem to be on the fly, so finding them at the Garden is more difficult than finding the siskins and redpolls. But this is the year — so stop by often to see if you can find them. This rare member of the finch family has a bill specialized for extracting seed form spruce cones. Their appearance at the Garden is associated with variations in spruce cone abundance. Look for them around the conifers.
Regular (expected annually; defined as the average number of individual birds per birding day, week, or month expected by an experienced observer under normal circumstances in the proper habitat at the optimum time of season):
P= Permanent Residents (although wild birds are possible; look for clipped wing)
AB = Abundant (30+ per day)
VC = Very Common (10-30 per day)
C= Common (3-10 per day)
FC = Fairly Common (1-3 per day)
U = Uncommon (2 per week to 1 per day)
VU = Very Uncommon (3 per month to 2 per week)
R = Rare (1-3 per month)
Irregular (absent some years; defined as an average of one record by all observers in the stated number of years):
O = Occasional (1-3 years)
CA = Casual (3-11 years)
AC = Accidental (11+ years)
Designations for winter water birds are based on periods when lakes are mostly icefree.
(~) Captive birds
Spring (March 6 - June 5)
Summer (June 6 - August 15)
Fall (August 16 - November 30)
Winter (December 1 - March 5)
Bird Photographs: Jim Ault, Carol Freeman, Jim Steffen.