Even though this winter has been amazing for irrupting finches it is still not every day that a New Yorker gets to see White-winged Crossbills. And I had never, before a run out to Montauk on the far eastern end of Long Island, seen a juvenile crossbill. But this young female and an adult male were more than willing to hang out and try to get into some pine cones while we (being me, Isaac Grant, and Gene Herskovics) watched and digiscoped.

Note that you can just make out a hint of the yellow that indicates not only that this is a female bird, but that she is on the cusp of adulthood. Which raised the question that we were unable to answer – was the male feeding her because he is her father or because he is courting her?

Cradle-robber or diligent parent?

Though we were unable to resolve that mystery it didn’t really matter, as we had crossbills in front of us to watch, a wonderful experience in a stand of pines next to a grocery store.

Winter finches. Awesome.

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.