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