Distinctive Mandibles

Walking bridge over Genesee River from Seneca Park
Walking bridge over Genesee River from Seneca Park

It was cold this morning but the birders were out, all bundled up with binoculars hanging on their necks. Someone had spotted Redpolls and Purple Finches near the end of Hoffman Road and posted the location so a small group had gathered. The Finches have come south for the winter, “south” to upstate New York. One of the guys told us he had also seen some Red Crossbills near Conifer Lane, the long dead end running off Hoffman. He told us they have special beaks that enable them to pick the seeds out of a pine cone.

We looked Red Crossbills up when we got back home and sure enough, “their distinctive mandibles, crossed at the tips, enable them to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits.” Fitting that they were spotted on Conifer Lane probably picking the seeds out of the conifer cones.

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