Crossbills in the Scottish Borders

CrossbillCrossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Crossbills are such an exciting bird to catch a glimpse of. Sometimes the first clue you get to their presence is the high chirrup sound they make as they fly overhead in small groups. Once you get your binoculars on them there’s no mistaking them for anything else.  The males have lovely warm red plumage and the females are green, both having that wonderful characteristic crossed bill.

In the Borders, you might see Crossbills anywhere you find conifer trees with a good cone crop.  It’s the seed they’re after and you often find these birds at the very top of the trees.  It’s well worth learning their call to give yourself the best possible chance of spotting them, otherwise they could well fly over your head without you even noticing.