Type 2 Crossbill

Type 2 Crossbill

Geographic Range. In the East, breeding by this form has been documented in the southern Appalachian mountains, the state of New York, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Breeding may also extend to the pine barrens of New Jersey and other coniferous forests along the Atlantic coast. In the Rocky Mountain west, this form is relatively common in conifer forests at all elevations, including foothill areas where other forms are less frequent. In the Pacific Northwest, this crossbill is found mainly on the drier east side of the Cascades, but it also occurs along the Pacific coast of Oregon and California (including San Francisco's Presidio and Golden Gate Park). It is perhaps the most common crossbill in the Sierra Nevada and other California ranges, as well as the Mogollon Rim of Arizona and various mountains of New Mexico. Type 2 birds are probably frequent in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Occasional crossbills in southern pine forests, from east Texas and Mississippi to the Carolinas, are likely to be of this form.

Ecology and habitat. This large-billed crossbill is among the most eclectic in habitat preference. In the East, this crossbill breeds in association with pitch pine (Pinus rigida), table-mountain pine (P. ), and probably rarely with loblolly pine (P. taeda). In the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, these birds probably use red pine (P. resinosa) extensively. This crossbill is largely associated with ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa) throughout the West, but is also common in lodgepole pine (P. contorta) areas such as the Sierra Nevada, Yellowstone Park, and scrub forests along the Pacific coast. This form has been observed obtaining seeds from the large cones of Monterey pine (P. ) along the California coast. Conifers with weaker cones, including Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), and various spruces (Picea) are also used extensively by Type 2 crossbills.

Natural history notes. This is perhaps the most widespread crossbill in North America. It is interesting that the Type 5 form is almost identical to this one in bill size. The known range of Type 2 completely overlaps Type 5's, and the two even breed (in summer) in the same lodgepole pine forests throughout the West. Nevertheless, subtle yet significant differences in measurements exist between the two forms, and their vocalizations are relatively distinctive.

Vocalizations. Flight calls of Type 2 birds are spectrographically similar to those of Type 1 and therefore difficult to distinguish by human ear. Toop calls of Type 2 are almost inseparable from Type 4 toops, even with audiospectrographic analysis.