Common Crossbill –

Loxia curvirostra – GYLFIN GROES – Erratic visitor, has bred

The Crossbill is described in the bird report as ‘erratic visitor, has bred’.  What constitutes an ‘erratic visitor’?  Tabulating records from the Pembrokeshire Bird Reports shows that from 1993-2007 they were rarely recorded before May.  In some years dozens were recorded, in some years a handful or none.

YearJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
1990     13 1225450
1991 26334  4 4  
1992   41       
1993       1117 54 
19944 3  1 12    
1995            
1996         4  
1997    185070 917  
1998      5     
1999      8  67 
2000     3      
2001      1  2  
2002       310111
2003      1     
2004            
2005     39124206  
200612        16  
2007   2       12
20083030   111934492
20091   4 12  2  
20109  4  9  4  
201125  5 20   24  
2012 1010253 14  130
2013   9 14182  12
2014  heard   2  11 4
20157  5 386     
2016   17168     
2017   755555527 
2018 12      101234 
2019 211 20212215924049

Crossbills are stimulated to breed by an abundance of food – whatever time of year it may occur.   The nearest regularly breeding populations are in Ceredigion, where they  mostly fledge from February to April.  So, good numbers of birds seen in January-April may indicate local breeding.  However, it is really necessary to see evidence of actual nesting to be sure they bred here. From May onwards, it gets really difficult to sort out the locals from immigrants.

More about the Common Crossbill in Pembrokeshire