Date: 11/5/17 10:20 am
From: Mark Keller <markrat61...>
Subject: Re: The Irony of Crossbills
With not wit 😊

On Sun, Nov 5, 2017 at 12:19 PM Mark Keller <markrat61...> wrote:

> 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...>
>> 613 Tamerisk
>> Junction City Kansas USA 66441
>> 785-238-8800
>>
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>

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