An irruption of Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) occurred in primarily northwestern Arkansas starting in November of 2012 and lasting to the end of May of 2013. Based on recordings of call notes, most birds around Fayetteville were Type 2, the large-billed ponderosa pine crossbill, associated with a variety of conifer species. Birds recorded in Carroll County were Type 3, the small-billed western hemlock crossbill, and they were associated with small cones on shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata). One recording was obtained in Fayetteville of Type 5, the lodgepole pine crossbill, only the third recording east of the Great Plains. Crossbills at the Fayetteville Country Club were observed eating algae (Cladophora sp.) during the months of December and January, a behavior rarely reported for passerines. During March, crossbills appeared at sunflower bird feeders, which is a relatively recent phenomenon associated with low conifer seed abundance. The first two Arkansas specimens of crossbills (probably Type 3) were obtained from birds that struck windows near feeders. This is only the third recorded irruption of crossbills in Arkansas in the last 43 years, suggesting that crossbills rarely travel this far south in search of cone crops.
Smith, K. G.; Neal, J. C.; and Young, M. A.
"Red Crossbill Invasion of Northwestern Arkansas during 2012-2013,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 69
, Article 17.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol69/iss1/17