Date: 5/1/18 7:24 am
From: Tim Spahr <tspahr44...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Red Crossbills & Norway Spruces
Hi Birders,

I poked around some areas in Berkshire County yesterday looking for Red
Crossbills and met with pretty good success. The first stop was the big
Norway Spruce grove on Washington Mountain Road--there are clearly a lot of
crossbills there as I had them from 3 different pulloffs. Rather
interestingly, I had 4 different flight call types: 1, 2, 3, and 10.
(note there was also a Type 5 here in February). Many of these large
Norway Spruces are full of cones, and it seems likely that there will be
some nesting in these trees in the next few months, and it may be going on

Birds were also present in Windsor State Forest--again in large stands of
cone-laden Norway Spruces. There was also a flock of 6 Evening Grosbeaks
as well, a real treat for someone who hardly ever sees or hears these birds.

It appears right now that any place with large stands of Norway Spruces
that have good cone crops could be potential locations for nesting Red
Crossbills. I would encourage observers to give these areas a look from
now through August. Some areas I know of that have this habitat are:

--Washington Mountain Road (technically in Washington, I think)
--Windsor State Forest, Windsor
--Savoy Mountain State Forest, Savoy
--Quabbin Gates 5-8

Keen observers will note that the Montague crossbills are not using Norway
Spruces--they are using red and pitch pines! That habitat could also be
productive for searching. Keep in mind these birds will select ideal
habitat if it is available--large stands (hundreds of trees) abundant with

A few checklists from yesterday;

If anyone has any questions about habitat or searching locations, please
feel free to get in touch. This irruption is still going on and will for a
few more months!

good birding

Tim Spahr

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