Critter of the Month
Critter of the Month -
A facinating large finch of the higher elevation of Tennessee where coniferous woodlands are prevalent, the Red Crossbill forages on the seeds of the pine, hemlock, fir and spruce cones. These nomads are often detected by their hard 'kip-kip' calls as they fly over or into these evergreen woods.
The red crossbill is a small passerince bird in the finch family with distinctive mandibles or bills that cross at the tip enabling them to extract the seeds from the cones of evergreen trees.
In breeding plumage adults males are brightly colored red or orange and females green or yellow varying in color.
These birds have long fascinated scientists and currently it's believed there may be as many as 8 different sub-species of this finch.
A trip to the summit of Unaka or Roan mountain might result in finding a flock of these nomadic birds.