loxia (crosswise) leucoptera (white wings)
Tuesday, February 2, 1982 — 11:00 am
Volo, Illinois — Volo Bog State Natural Area
I was out of a job at this time and looking for work in Racine, Wisconsin. Starting early in January, I drove up every day and filled out applications.
I heard about the White-winged Crossbills on the Audubon hot line and decided to stop on the way up. I was dressed in my looking-for-a-job clothes. It was a cold, windy day with seven inches or so of snow. In places, the wind had piled up drifts of two feet or more.
I was the only person at Volo Bog. I parked in the lot and waded in my good shoes down the trail around a small pond surrounded by a bog, which in turn was surrounded by a ring of tamaracks. I wandered for 30 minutes and was beginning to get discouraged.
I stood on the platform overlooking the pond. I heard a bird calling and spotted a female flying (undulating) while giving a two- or three-syllable “chee-chee” call. She landed on the tip of a tamarack at the edge of the bog, Soon, another female and a flock of Common Redpolls landed nearby. After a few minutes, they took off out of sight.
Approximately 20 minutes later, a flock flew calling into the trees. They foraged near the treetops, hanging at all angles while picking at cones. The Common Redpolls foraged in nearby trees for a while, then took off across the pond. Immediately afterwards, the Crossbills began calling, and then took off over the woods in the opposite direction, still calling. I waded back to the car and headed up to Racine with cold feet.