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.