Loxia Curvirostra

The Red Crossbill, Loxia curvirostra, is a finch of the conifer forests of the Northern Hemisphere. They are highly variable and fairly shy, so it’s a treat to have these fellows about. I usually find them by their tinny calls, as they move quickly in the high canopy, foraging for cones.

I am especially attracted to these birds, not only because they are charming, but because they are such a stunning example of the powers of natural selection. To me, they represent the adaptability, and might I even say genius, of the natural world – yet these birds, marvelously attuned as they are to their environment, are also dependent on that environment to a great degree. They are specialists, and as such vulnerable to calamitous environmental change.

Are they products of a Supreme Being? the Divine Watchmaker? Or random natural selection? I care not. They are a marvel.

Red Crossbill

Male Red Crossbills  Image by Elaine R. Wilson, Nature's Pics

Male Red Crossbills

Image by Elaine R. Wilson, Nature’s Pics

Female Red Crossbill
Photo by Nature’s Pics

Loxia curvirostra from Naumann, ‘Natural history of the birds of central Europe’


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