Unexpected guests

Today, as I made lunch for the girls, I noticed an interesting flock of birds in our conifers.  My wife had noticed them too while they were skiing.  I thought they looked like Pine Grosbeaks, but too small.  Upon closer inspection, I realized they were White Winged Crossbills!  I've seen them once before in winter in Algonquin Park.  However, I've never seen them this far south.  Their beaks give them away, and also how they feed on pine cones, literally ripping them apart.  We have more pine cones this year than just about any year I can remember--probably due to all the rain this summer.  I hope they stay here and feed all winter.

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