I have been watching my pine-cone laden spruce trees for these birds since the beginning of February (ever since I heard they were being seen in Southeastern Minnesota). I listened to their call on my birdJam, just in case I would happen to hear it when I was outside. Their song sounds similar to the Common Redpolls, so I was wondering whether I would be able to distinguish it or not.
When I went out the front door to put some more food in the dish for my crows, I heard a different bird song and looked over at the big spruce tree near the driveway where I saw a pinkish-colored bird moving around at the top near the pinecones. "Could it be???" I said to myself. I dashed back into the house for bins and camera and sure, enough, there he was...... Gosh, what a handsome bird! Look at that long pointy beak working to extract the seeds from the pinecone!
Here are some more pictures. There are 2 male crossbills in this shot (look where the white arrows are pointing)
Here's another close-up. They were so busy flitting about from pine cone to pine cone, that I felt fortunate to get these pictures in a moment of stillness. (The -17 windchill blowing into my face wasn't helping either and I was wishing I had more put some warmer pants on over my pajama bottoms!)
But the sun was just coming up and the light was perfect and I couldn't tear myself away from this spectacle. In the picture below, you can just see a female at the far right side of the picture.
Here's a better look a the golden color of the female.
Every summer when I'm mowing the lawn and get too close to these spruces with their skin-piercingly sharp needles, I curse these trees, but today I was glad for them and their abundance of pine cones that attracted these beautiful little finches of the boreal forest......a life bird for me and my backyard!
Before my camera (and the rest of me) froze, I also managed to capture this short video. Watch out for flying pinecones!