Date: 11/5/17 10:19 am
From: Mark Keller <markrat61...>
Subject: Re: The Irony of Crossbills
Chuck I have noticed the same situation wit pine cones in NWKS. I have
found zero trees with mature pine cones.

On Sun, Nov 5, 2017 at 12:07 PM Chuck & Jaye Otte <otte2...> wrote:

> Jaye and I spent some time walking yet another location with pines around
> Milford Lake today and saw exactly zero crossbills. I've continued paying
> close attention to the trees for the presence or absence of pine cones and
> was again greeted by trees with very few pine cones. I always suggest to
> beginning birders that to find birds you have to follow the food.
>
> The widespread appearance of Red Crossbills, over the past month, has
> caused a lot of excitement for some and frustration to others. The irony in
> this, to me, is that we as a birding community are getting all excited on a
> species that is highly dependent on a plant community that isn't even
> native
> to Kansas. That's right, Kansas is the only state in the Union that has NO
> native pine trees.
>
> Back to follow the food - Pines generally take 2 years to produce mature
> pine
> cones (rarely three years). Therefore the pine cones that I'm NOT seeing
> would have come from flowers that bloomed in the spring of 2016. I did
> notice a fair number of immature cones on some of the trees. I suspect
> that,
> at least in this local area, some weather event in the spring of 2016
> caused
> flowers to not successfully be pollinated. (Now a bunch of you are running
> to
> Google "pine flowers".) Pollination/blooming failure is often caused by
> untimely freezes but can also be caused by drought and/or heat stress.
>
> I spent a little bit of time this weekend putting together a map showing
> where
> in Kansas Red Crossbills have been reported this fall and on what date they
> were first reported. This map is at:
> http://ksbirds.org/kos/Crossbills17_18.htm
>
> When you look at this map you'll see an area of the Flint Hills and north
> central Kansas that is devoid of reports as well as the Red Hills region
> and
> north and northwest Kansas. These could simply be devoid due to lack of
> coverage, but I know a lot of folks in the Manhattan/Junction City area
> that
> have been studiously looking!
>
> This irruption is being noted in other states as well and I'm quite
> certain that
> other counties will be added to this map before it's all said and done.
>
> Chuck
>
>
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Chuck & Jaye Otte mailto:<otte2...>
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> Junction City Kansas USA 66441
> 785-238-8800
>
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