New Crossbill Compendium

Ken Irwin is best known for discovering a new call type (Type 10), and his paper describing it is coming out in the next issue of Western Birds. When I talked to Ken on the phone last year, he was also hard at work on a website that would include sound files of all the types, their excitement calls, their begging calls, their songs, etcetera. Now that website is up, and everyone interested in crossbills should go see it. [Read more]

AOU Checklist News!

The North American Checklist Committee of the American Ornithologists’ Union has published the results of its deliberations on the first round of proposed changes from 2009, and it has updated the slate of proposals currently under consideration. Here’s a quick summary of the changes that affect species splits north of Mexico. [Read more]

The Crossbill Quiz: Answers

Here are the answers to the quiz from the last post. [Read more]

The Crossbill Quiz

Last week I facilitated the Sound Identification Panel at the Western Field Ornithologists Conference, which is a wonderful privilege I have been treated to for each of the last four years. In front of a large live audience, I quizzed an expert panel on crossbill sounds. Can you meet the challenge of identifying the common western Red Crossbill call types? [Read more]

Macaulay’s Red Crossbill Types

By popular demand, here’s a natural extension of my first post: an index to the Red Crossbill call types on some of the cuts in the Macaulay Library collection. [Read more]

Getting started with crossbills

I think most birders know by now that Red Crossbills in North America sort into a number of different call types, each of which may constitute a cryptic species. Identifying these types in the field promises to be a bugaboo of legendary proportions. Where does one begin? In this post I’ve collected links to some online resources that can get you started: a sort of Crossbill Q & A, if you will. [Read more]