Date: 4/29/18 5:13 pm
From: Cody Porter <empidonaxdvg...>
Subject: [cobirds] RFI -- crossbills and cone crops

Hi all,

I'm here with my annual request for information on the whereabouts of good
cone crops and crossbills.

Unfortunately, cone crops over much of the Rockies were non-existent or
very poor this last year, causing a mass exodus of our usually abundant
type 2 (ponderosa pine) crossbills to the Great Lakes and Northeast region
(though it seems there have been several holdouts at feeders along the
Front Range and even deeper in the mountains). Hopefully as summer
progresses, good cone crops will develop and crossbills will return.

As usual, I am particularly interested in hearing about developing
ponderosa pine, douglas-fir, and Engelmann/blue spruce cone crops. It is
still too early to detect a developing spruce/fir cone crop, but developing
ponderosa pine cones should be visible right now. Basically, look for lots
of small purple cones on ponderosa branches (see attached photo for an
example, taken on April 12 a few years ago). Come late June/early July,
spruce and doug-fir will have similar small purple cones all over, if they
are to have a good cone crop (attached is a not so great photo of that from
July 6 two years ago).

Any information (even the absence of a good cone crop in an area) is
greatly appreciated. The unpredictable nature of conifer cone crops and
crossbills makes working on them an...interesting challenge, but the
information you folks have given me over the past few years has made things
go much more smoothly than I anticipated when I first started this project.

Good birding,
Cody Porter
Laramie, WY


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