The three (3) Red Crossbills did show up again at 11:26 AM until 11:33 AM for Dianne Kinder & Myrna Carlton who had stopped by for a look.

As I am not a "crossbill" expert, by any means. To me they will, for the time being, remain just RED CROSSBILLS.

All this "lumping & splitting" reminds me of the Dark-eyed Junco scenario! And to a lesser extent, the Baltimore/Bullock's Oriole episode.

I am just glad these birds decided to come to visit our yard!

Good Birding!

Larry Lade
Saint Joseph, MO
gcrownkinglet AT yahoo DOT com

--- On Fri, 1/23/09, Robert Fisher <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Robert Fisher <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Crossbills in escrow?
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Friday, January 23, 2009, 11:27 AM

We have been hearing for years that "Red Crossbill" may eventually be
split, perhaps into as many as nine separate species. Listers who would like to
take advantage of the split may wish to identify subspecies now and hold them
"in escrow" pending the change. If and when the change occurs, they
can then up their life lists by replacing "Red Crossbill" with two or
three or more newly-named species.

I did it when they split "Brown Towhee." I saw my first "Canyon
Towhee" in 1965 and my first "California Towhee" in 1966, then
got two for one when A.O.U. named them in 1989.

Unfortunately, Red Crossbill subspecies are more difficult to ID than the two
brown towhees were. The towhees were permanent residents in separate ranges and
were easily distinguishable by obvious field marks. Crossbills in Missouri are
away from their breeding range, and the distinctions among subspecies are more
subtle. The most important distinction may be the bird's call. Absent a
clear recording of the call, it may be extremely difficult to convince a records
committee to approve even a very good photographic record.

The foregoing said, I can remember when Thayer's and Herring Gulls were
thought to be so similar in appearance that they were assumed to be one species.
I also note that some ornithologists now want to lump Thayer's Gull with the
Kumlien's subspecies of Iceland Gull. Yet we see posts to this list claiming
Thayer's gulls and/or Iceland Gulls almost daily at this time of year. If we
can learn the subtle distinctions between these gull species, it may also be
possible to learn to distinguish crossbill subspecies.

So, if you really want to have the big life list ASAP, get out your parabolic
recording device and your long lens camera and start documenting those Red
Crossbills at the feeder!

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
[log in to unmask]

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: May 1-3, 2009 in Columbia, MO.