Date: 3/18/17 7:20 pm
From: Daniel Mason <millipede1977...>
Always glad to see these reports. I was tempted to try after the first
sightings but I often go an hour or so for a bird and then never find
it. Happens more often than not with the less common ones. I don't get
to go too far too often so I don't push it for many but if they're still
down there, I may have to drag the whole family with me. :)
Crossbills would be a lifebird. So would the brown-headed nuthatch if
we can find that. I wonder if there's anything else I might look for
down there that I might not find up here in Benton county.
We're thinking about visiting late Monday morning. We've never been
down that way. Any info we can use to find our way around as far as
finding the birds? I'm hoping with a young bird still being fed they're
not going to be on the move quiet yet and we'll have luck. Any thoughts
on the nuthatches there as well? And is there anything at this park
like a playground to keep my younger kids busy? :)
Also, I'd like to hear more about crossbills in general. When it comes
to species like this that have different "types" that can be told apart
by sound I have to wonder if they're really different or, just making
different sounds. Obviously I'm not questioning other people's
knowledge on this. There has to be more to it than "they sound
different" to decide they're different types if not different species.
I just haven't read enough about them. I question everything I need to
in order to learn more. And, so many species and subspecies splitting
and joining from time to time, a person does have to wonder. Redpolls
for instance. They even look different but then, perhaps they're the
same after all. If the experts that have all the say so are still
figuring these things out, I don't think it's unreasonable for me to
wonder about these crossbills. Basically, I'm not going to be too
concerned with trying to figure out which type I might see but I'll be
quite content(and happy) to fine any crossbill at all. Unless I put it
on my list and then they decide to split it and I then don't know what I
had. that could be a problem. HA.
Anyway, thanks for the reports and that's quite interesting to hear.

On 3/18/2017 6:29 PM, Joseph Neal wrote:
> Several of us on the Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society field trip
> this morning saw Red Crossbills near Shores Lake in the Ozark National
> Forest. The birds were first observed by Bill Beall and Jim Nieting on
> March 4 and have been found subsequently, more or less in the same
> area, including today. We had clear looks at three birds this morning.
> Joan Reynolds and I saw 5-6 in the same area on March 5. On that date,
> we observed one crossbill feed another. A photo of the bird that was
> fed shows it is a streaky fledgling. This is supportive of the
> hypothesis that Red Crossbills nested in the Shores Lake area over
> winter 2016-2017.
> Some unfamiliar with crossbill nesting behavior are a little shocked
> about the hypothesis that crossbills may have nested here, with at
> least one fledgling on the wing by at least early March. In terms of
> Arkansas, it is pretty unusual, but then we are fortunate that Bill
> Beall has been birding the area for many years and has many other
> crossbill records. One difference this time is that we managed to
> photograph birds because they are close to the highway. Bill and Jim
> Nieting let us know right away when they observed them.
> Data for Red Crossbill in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of
> North America indicates food as the most important factor influencing
> timing of nesting. “Egg dates in North America from mid-Dec to early
> Sep …” Also, “Red Crossbill's annual breeding cycle is apparently
> regulated by photoperiod, with opportunistic responses to food supply
> and social factors superimposed on this cycle.”
> Shortleaf Pine forest where we are seeing these crossbills has been
> thinned. Tree stands are now open and park-like, dominated by mature
> Shortleaf Pines, with many mature trees heavy with pine cones – ideal
> for crossbills. The Forest Service manages this way because it is
> suitable for natural reproduction of pines in managed forests and
> secondarily because it produces high-quality natural habitat for all
> kinds of native wildlife, both plant and animal. It may very well have
> fostered nesting by Red Crossbills in the state, too.
> Red Crossbill populations are divided by call types. These different
> call types may reflect separate species under the umbrella name Red
> Crossbill. UA-Fayetteville graduate students Anant Deshwal and Pooja
> Panwar collected sound files from these birds on March 8, edited the
> files, which were then sent to Matt Young at Cornell. Hopefully we
> have enough data that Young can identify these crossbills to call type.
> More than 20 years ago, Bill Holiman, now Chief of Research at
> Arkansas Natural heritage Commission, encouraged me to record
> crossbill call types for birds I saw and heard in the Ouachita NF. I
> didn’t follow through at the time. Subsequently, I have managed to
> record birds in northwest Arkansas. With help from Matt Young, we have
> identified three call types from crossbills in Arkansas. The birds
> currently in the Ozark NF would be the first identified that may have
> nested here.

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