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Crossbill, White-winged

Crossbill, White-winged
Winter: 
CA

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.