News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Red Crossbills – have they flown the hood?

June 19th, 2013 by Mike

It’s been two days since our feeders have been inundated by Red Crossbills. Have they left for the mountains?

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Red Crossbills still here on the first of June

June 1st, 2013 by Mike

The Red Crossbills that arrived in Maple Leaf nearly two months ago are still here on the morning of June 1st.

This is, um, unusual. (From the Sibley Guide to Birds, Red Crossbills are “uncommon and very irregular.”)

In comments on an earlier post, Elizabeth noted that crossbills, a type of finch, would likely leave for the mountains around now.

But we have over a half-dozen in the yard this morning. They are quite bossy around the feeders, chasing other birds away. Earlier in the week they even tangled with an Anna’s Hummingbird at our water feature.

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Red Crossbill madness hits Seattle! (They're a bird, not a team)

April 11th, 2013 by Mike

Since our original post about Red Crossbills at the Maple Leaf Life feeders (they’re still here, incidentally), reports have come in from all over town.

Today on that first post Lynda noted: “I started seeing these crossbills (8900 block of 12th Ave NE) at my feeder at Easter and it took me a while to identify them because all three were females which don’t have much color. Today one female was joined by a male; quite colorful!”

We also posted to the Washington state bird listserve, Tweeters. Here are some updates from Wednesday, April 10:

Here, meaning, Phinney/Ballard, where I just spotted a couple of Red Crossbills at our feeders.

What a nice surprise, especially because I’d failed in my search for them lately in some of the taller trees and pines in our hood.

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To chime in about apparently ubiquitous crossbills, my son-in-law reported to us that on Fri 4/5, he saw a pair virtually at his feet in the lot where he parks for work in back of the SODO Showbox. They were feeding on fallen cones. I guess that for this year, anyway, they are urban birds!

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Seeing as how many others have reported their Red Crossbills in the last day or two I will add my two cents worth. I had a small flock of about 8-12 Red Crossbills in my yard two blocks south of Green Lake (North Seattle) yesterday morning for the first time. The were bathing in my waterfall (not all of which is visible from my office – there may have been several more). A delight to see.

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Red Crossbills over here, too. In the tall pines just inside the 3rd NW/145th St entrance of Llandover Woods in North Seattle (also a favorite woodpecker haunt). Can’t get enough of those pinecone-pecking passeriformes!

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Red Crossbill madness hits Seattle! (They’re a bird, not a team)

April 11th, 2013 by Mike

Since our original post about Red Crossbills at the Maple Leaf Life feeders (they’re still here, incidentally), reports have come in from all over town.

Today on that first post Lynda noted: “I started seeing these crossbills (8900 block of 12th Ave NE) at my feeder at Easter and it took me a while to identify them because all three were females which don’t have much color. Today one female was joined by a male; quite colorful!”

We also posted to the Washington state bird listserve, Tweeters. Here are some updates from Wednesday, April 10:

Here, meaning, Phinney/Ballard, where I just spotted a couple of Red Crossbills at our feeders.

What a nice surprise, especially because I’d failed in my search for them lately in some of the taller trees and pines in our hood.

—————-

To chime in about apparently ubiquitous crossbills, my son-in-law reported to us that on Fri 4/5, he saw a pair virtually at his feet in the lot where he parks for work in back of the SODO Showbox. They were feeding on fallen cones. I guess that for this year, anyway, they are urban birds!

—————

Seeing as how many others have reported their Red Crossbills in the last day or two I will add my two cents worth. I had a small flock of about 8-12 Red Crossbills in my yard two blocks south of Green Lake (North Seattle) yesterday morning for the first time. The were bathing in my waterfall (not all of which is visible from my office – there may have been several more). A delight to see.

———————–

Red Crossbills over here, too. In the tall pines just inside the 3rd NW/145th St entrance of Llandover Woods in North Seattle (also a favorite woodpecker haunt). Can’t get enough of those pinecone-pecking passeriformes!

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TUDU (rare Tufted Duck) on view at Montlake

February 4th, 2012 by Mike

It’s not in Maple Leaf, but it’s not far away, either. And it shouldn’t be here at all.

East Point at the Montlake Fill, Saturday morning.

It’s been a great winter for bird watchers.

First there was the irruption of Snowy Owls, who are still dotting the landscape mostly to the north of us. One was reported in Maple Leaf in early December. Here’s a photo of one sitting on the roof of the Ballard Library.

Now there’s a Tufted Duck (TUDU, to bird banders) at the Montlake Fill. And dozens of birders there watching him. (If you want to find him, look for the crowd.)

Classic Collection of North American Birds

Here’s what bird guru David Allen Sibley has to say about Tufted Ducks, in his Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.

Very rare visitor from Eurasia, mostly along coast; records are of single birds on ponds or sheltered bays….Male distinctive: black back and rounded black head with long dangling tuft.

I last saw a Tufted Duck in 1999, but not in Seattle. In Reykjavik.

The duck was first reported Friday by Constance Sidles, the guru of the Montlake Fill (aka Union Bay Natural Area). She says the bird is often just off the Fill’s East Point.

“It’s a male TUDU with quite a long tuft and black back, just a classic Tufted Duck straight out of the bird books…..

“Something I did not know: He can control his tuft. Sometimes he would stick it out from his head, other times he would flatten it against his head and neck. Sometimes he would make his tuft smooth; other times he let it get ragged. Before he dove, he would always flatten it so tightly he looked like a regular duck, not the exotic stranger he really is.”

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