Monthly Archives: August 2012

Red Crossbills in the Sandia Mountains

As any birder in the US knows, the summer months are the doldrums of birding. We have hummingbirds and some year-round residents, but many birds are farther north during the summer breeding season. Capulin Springs in the Sandia Mountains is a place that is almost always a good place to see a variety of birds in the summer. The reason is water. At Capulin Springs the spring water has been directed through a hollowed-out log to create a lovely oasis for bird drinking and bathing.

The setting is really lovely.

Capulin Springs

The magic birding log at Capulin Springs.

Birders in the Albuquerque area have been excited to see the unusual numbers of Red Crossbills in the Sandias this summer. They flocked to the water in the hollowed-out log.

Capulin Springs

Red Crossbills flock to the water.

The Crossbills were in many different plumage phases. This male was really pretty.

Capulin Springs

Male Red Crossbill.

A few people reported that they had seen White-winged Crossbills among the Red Crossbills. I believe that this is a female White-winged Crossbill. Note the white wing stripe.

Capulin Springs

Female White-winged Crossbill.

Farther up the mountain we saw a group of crossbills around a puddle at the edge of a parking lot.

10K parking lot

Red Crossbills enjoying a rain puddle.

We had a lovely time watching the birds, chatting with other birders and taking photos. Here are a few of the photos that I took:

Here is a video of crossbills and other birds enjoying the water at Capulin Springs:

It has been an unusual treat for New Mexico birders to see so many crossbills at one time. We are hoping that they will stay in the Sandias for awhile.

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