More Crossbills

January 7th, 2014

The crossbills are showing well at the moment, while there are very few opportunities with other species. Crossbills’ beaks have evolved to lever open pine cones using their tongues to extract the seeds. The young crossbills are born with straight beaks that only develop the crossover as they start to practice opening cones, and are fully crossed over at fledging. When the beak develops it can be either a right or left hand crossover. Little is known as to why this occurs but there are equal numbers of each type. Their preferred food is dry mature pine cones and the lack of moisture means they spend a lot of time drinking from pools, which is good news for photographers.