Above is a photo of a male Red Crossbill in a pine tree at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery last weekend. Crossbills are a type of finch and have an interesting twisted or crossed bill (hence the name) that’s optimized for breaking open cones in conifer trees to eat their seeds. They often travel in large flocks that move from tree to tree devouring all the seeds they can find. The flock that I photographed at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery was around 20 birds that would spend several minutes in a tree than move on to another tree.
Male Red Crossbill are reddish colored as the species name implies. Female Red Crossbills on the other hand are not red but instead are yellow as shown in the photo below. This photo also provides a better look at the Crossbill’s unique twisted bill.