Outdoor Radio: The Unique Crossbill Beak

Male White-winged Crossbill captured, banded and released by VCE on Stratton Mountain one summer. / © K.P. McFarland

In this episode of Outdoor Radio, biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra meet up with Tom Berriman, avid birder and regional expert, in Moose Bog in search of the enigmatic crossbill. The beak on these birds is actually crossed, allowing them to pry open the scales on cones and pick out the seeds inside. A crossbill can consume 3,000 seeds a day! Join them on their hunt.

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Female White-winged Crossbill captured, banded and about to be released on Stratton Mountain, VT. / © K.P. McFarland

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Images from the Show


Sara Zahendra, Tom Berriman, and Kent McFarland on the watch for crossbills at Moose Bog.

Moose Bog. / © K.P. McFarland

Spruce forest around Moose Bog glows green in the morning light. / © K.P. McFarland

Red Spruce tree covered in cones. / © K.P. McFarland

Gray Jay enjoying a snack on the Moose Bog boardwalk. / © K.P. McFarland

Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with Vermont Public Radio with support from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation.

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Comments (3)

  1. jerryspass says:

    Nice photos.

  2. Hank.sherry.marshall says:

    Thanks for this great “Outdoor Radio ” installment, we thoroughly enjoyed listening and reading about your observations. Moose Bog is one of our most favorite places to frequent in the NEK . We are amazed by the beauty and variety of this unique area every time we visit, no matter what season…many bird species to observe and listen to…on more than one occasion we have had grey jays, nuthatches,and chickadees feed from our hands.

  3. Mary Beth says:

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing.

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