Date: 11/5/17 9:08 pm
From: <ericwalters7...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET Big River State Forest Red Crossbills flocks
I visited Henderson County's Big River State Forest, hoping to find Red Crossbills today and I could barely get out of my car at the first stop when I was swarmed with a large flock. In all, I had 92 Red Crossbills from 4 different locations! Flock sizes ranged from 16-36 and three flocks perched nearby, two of which stayed put for good views, that last of which I was able to get some nice photos and more importantly video with audio, so I'll soon enough be able to figure out which 'Type' they were.

All the flocks I had were feeding/perching/preening in White Pines, which from what I've read here on IBET, that's where everyone is getting them thus far this Fall. Thus, my guess is they are likely all the same 'Type'.

Big River SF had lots of White Pines with cones, so while this species is nomadic, I wouldn't be surprised if some stay to overwinter here, since there seems to be more than enough food supply for large numbers. In fact, I only spent less than 2 hours, half the time in drizzle/rain and didn't even cover 1/3rd of this State Forest and still almost had 100 crossbills, so there could be hundreds out there right now. Thus, Red Crossbills have made it halfway down in IL, so time to look for them in Central IL White Pine plantations. Parts of Southern IL could even have some now as there's currently a small flock on the southeast side of Kansas City, MO that is exciting the folks in that area.

Purple Finch, 5 getting late Yellow-rumped Warblers and many happily feeding and cheerfully calling Red-breasted Nuthatches were the other highlights here.

Eric Walters
Grandview, MO/Zion, IL
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