White-Winged Crossbills Breed in Northern Utah
On 28 June 1977 Stephen B. Vander Wall observed White-winged Crossbills (Loxia leucoptera) at an elevation of 2500 m on the crest of the Bear River Range, 13 km west of Laketown, northern Cache and Rich Cos., Utah. Having censused this area monthly since May 1976, I am certain the species was not present before the last week of June 1977. This occurrence in itself is surprising since only two small flocks had previously been reported in Utah (Worthen 1973, Behle and Perry 1975). Subsequently, I suspected breeding activities in early July and made weekly observations to verify breeding. Also, I captured, examined and banded 19 White-winged Crossbills at a small (<75 >m2) stock pond adjacent to a subalpine meadow on 28 July (7 captured), 6 August (8) and 16 August (4). The pond was the only source of surface water within several km2 during 1977's extreme summer drought in the region. Many species, including Red Crosssbills (L. curvirostra), regularly visited the pond and were easily mist-netted. The nets were baited with salt to attract crossbills (see Samson 1976). Birds stopped visiting the pond in mid-August when it went dry. However, the addition of 200 l of water on 14 August was effective in reattracting many species including crossbills.
Smith, K. G. (1978). White-winged Crossbills breed in northern Utah. Western Birds, 9(2):79-81.