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Red Crossbill call types

fogeggs
 

Here in SF, I've heard two distinct call types over the past years. I can't
do justice to them through written alliteration, and currently don't have
access to sonograms or recordings of the 8-9 call types from around the
continent. The majority of the birds in the city use a single call, a relatively
straightforward "jip-jip". The other call was clearly different, and the first
time I heard it, I wondered if I was indeed hearing a crossbill, and was able
to confirm a single bird (female plumage) giving it. I've only heard that
call here one other time, unsighted, so it may be a singleton of a different type
hanging with our flocks, or different birds that happened to wander through
town while I was listening. I'll have to check if all of the call types are
available on the web, and hope the odd caller returns, so I can try to match it
up. I've rarely heard any crossbill songs in the city, only calls.
Our birds occur regularly in western GG Park, Sutro Heights, Land's End and
throughout the Presidio, and irregularly on Mount Davidson and Twin Peaks.
Both of the odd calls occurred in the Presidio. Over many years of birding the
East Bay hills, I've never heard or seen a crossbill in any of the extensive
conifer forests there.
Brian Fitch

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Birders



Cc: to SFBirds since they have been seeing crossbills up there as well.



I just analyzed the sounds from the Red Crossbills I recorded at Skylawn
Cemetery (top of hwy92) between Half Moon Bay and San Mateo on Jan 11. The
calls appear to match really closely to the Type 3 Red Crossbill. This is
unusual as this form is usually found farther north in the Pacific
Northwest. These forms may or may not be good species. A summary of what is
known can be found here:



http://research.amnh.org/ornithology/crossbills/diagnosis.html



Type 3 is the smallest and smallest billed of all North American Red
Crossbills, associating closely with hemlocks and other small coned
conifers. I am not 100% sure of the identification as I extracted the calls
from songs, and perhaps I was mislead by call-like vocalizations within the
song. I will have to record some more to figure out what they are. There was
an invasion of this crossbill type to the Bay Area in the mid 80s.



Regards



Al



Alvaro Jaramillo

chucao@...

Half Moon Bay, California



Field Guides - Birding Tours Worldwide

www.fieldguides.com

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Brian



That link in my original message has calls you can listen to of all the
types. They are so similar to each other that I don't think that I can tell
any of them apart, the sounds are so quick it is just difficult to do. But
the extreme types are more noticeable. So within the straightforward
"jip-jip" you may have 2-3 types alone! The only way to figure it out is to
record them and make sonograms I am afraid, at least with present knowledge.
But then again, maybe you are on to something.



Cheers



Al



Alvaro Jaramillo

chucao@...

Half Moon Bay, California



Field Guides - Birding Tours Worldwide

www.fieldguides.com

_____

From: SFBirds@... [mailto:SFBirds@...] On Behalf Of
Fogeggs@...
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 9:54 PM
To: chucao@...; peninsula-birding@...;
SFBirds@...
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Red Crossbill call types



Here in SF, I've heard two distinct call types over the past years. I can't
do justice to them through written alliteration, and currently don't have
access to sonograms or recordings of the 8-9 call types from around the
continent. The majority of the birds in the city use a single call, a
relatively
straightforward "jip-jip". The other call was clearly different, and the
first
time I heard it, I wondered if I was indeed hearing a crossbill, and was
able
to confirm a single bird (female plumage) giving it. I've only heard that
call here one other time, unsighted, so it may be a singleton of a different
type
hanging with our flocks, or different birds that happened to wander through
town while I was listening. I'll have to check if all of the call types are
available on the web, and hope the odd caller returns, so I can try to match
it
up. I've rarely heard any crossbill songs in the city, only calls.
Our birds occur regularly in western GG Park, Sutro Heights, Land's End and
throughout the Presidio, and irregularly on Mount Davidson and Twin Peaks.
Both of the odd calls occurred in the Presidio. Over many years of birding
the
East Bay hills, I've never heard or seen a crossbill in any of the extensive

conifer forests there.
Brian Fitch

fogeggs
 

What a useful website, thanks for the link Al. The only immediate question
I couldn't find an answer to was what the "toop" call signifies, versus
"flight" and "alarm" calls. I could hear the differences in the seven types of
flight calls, but can make no claim to be able to adequately compare my memories
with the array of sounds on the website, or to remember the site during my
next field encounters.
Regardless of that statement, the type calls that strike me as most like what
I've heard in the city are not the type 2 birds listed as present in SF, but
the more "straighforward" calls of types 3, 4 & 7, none of which reside too
far from here. The type 2 call seems too strident, drawn out and descending to
match our local birds.
As to the odd call I've heard twice, it could well have been a "toop" call
from the local type, rather than a different type's call. And as to the basic
call I'm used to hearing, I've heard it from both flying birds and from flocks
feeding in conifers, though I assume it would be considered the "flight"
call. It'll be fun, though possibly frustrating too, to take this new info into
the field soon.
Brian