Don't get cross, get painting!
The red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) is a seed-eating finch that measures between 51/2 and 61/2inches. It has a strong and fairly large bill that is, indeed, crossed. There are at least nine populations and each one’s bill is specialized for extracting seeds from particular cones. The bills are not all the same, either. Sometimes the lower mandible crosses to the right of the upper mandible and sometimes to the left.
The pattern and painting notes are taken from various study skins at Eastern Washington University. You can find more reference photos of the red crossbill in the Winter 2008 issue of WILDFOWL CARVINGMAGAZINE. The red crossbill will be the “Best of the Northwest” species at the 2013 Columbia Flyway Wildlife Show in Vancouver, Washington, in September.
Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Summer 2013 issue.