do birds eat pine cones

Red Crossbills are brick-red songbirds that specialize in eating pine-cone seeds. They have an unusual bill- the tips cross over each other, almost as if their bill is overgrown. This shape helps them pry open pine cones, to get the seed inside.

Red Crossbills are brick-red songbirds that specialize in eating pine-cone seeds. They have an unusual bill- the tips cross over each other, almost as if their bill is overgrown. This shape helps them pry open pine cones, to get the seed inside.

These crossbills are found throughout most of North America (and Europe and Asia too). But one Red Crossbill isn’t the same as another – recent research in North America shows that there may be NINE different types, or subspecies…some suggest they’re actually nine different species.

Each type has a different voice, and a different size. Some crossbills with larger bills like to feed on the large cones of pine trees. Other, smaller crossbills have bills that are better for opening little spruce or hemlock cones. These different kinds of crossbills don’t flock together or mate together, as far as researchers know.

These birds live a very nomadic life. Wherever the pinecone crop is richest, that’s where they’ll migrate to – even if that means heading north in the winter. And, unlike most other songbirds, they’re not restricted to nesting in the summer. If there are more pinecone seeds to eat in winter, they’ll build their nests when the snow is falling.

The brick-red songbirds known as red crossbills are specialized in consuming pinecone seeds. Their bill is peculiar because the tips cross over one another, giving the impression that it is overgrown. To extract the seed from pine cones, they use this form to pry them open.

Each type has a different voice, and a different size. Some larger-billed crossbills enjoy feeding on the massive pine cones. Some smaller crossbills have bills that work better on tiny cones of hemlock or spruce. Researchers have found that these different kinds of crossbills do not mate or flock together.

Most of North America is home to these crossbills (as well as parts of Europe and Asia). However, recent research conducted in North America suggests that there may be nine distinct subspecies, or types, of Red Crossbills; some even argue that there are nine distinct species altogether.

These birds live a very nomadic life. They will migrate to the richest pinecone crop wherever it is found, even if that means moving north during the winter. Additionally, they are not limited to nesting in the summer like the majority of other songbirds. If pinecone seeds are more plentiful in the winter, they will construct their nests as the snow begins to fall.

The only birds in North America with white heads and black bodies are white-headed woodpeckers. In their natural habitats of western mountain pine forests, they harvest seeds from closed pine cones. Living on pine cone seeds, acorns, fruits, berries, nuts, and occasionally small fish, birds, and lizards, red-bellied woodpeckers are found in eastern forests. Woodpeckers known as yellow-bellied sapsuckers consume the seeds from eastern white pine cones.

Sandra Carusetta has been writing advertising copy and promoting custom art businesses to a global clientele since 1984. Carusetta has worked as a writer, small business owner, private chef, and professional florist in the past. Carusetta has authored a number of educational web articles about cooking and gardening.

Finches are seed-eating songbirds that resemble cardinals and sparrows in appearance. Crossbills are nomadic finches found among conifer forests. Red and white-winged crossbills’ distinctive beaks move back and forth, holding a pine cone open so that the seed can be extracted with the tongue. The pine grosbeak is a rare and large finch that lives across continents. Its diet consists mostly of vegetables and seeds from pine and spruce trees. The common finch known as the seed-eating pine siskin can be seen in big flocks amidst conifer trees. With their large tongues and beaks, purple finches split open pine cones to retrieve the seed.

The amiable perching chickadees have small, round bodies, long tails, and short bills. Chickadees use alarm calls to alert one another to potential predators, and other birds that are circling around them also respond. Black-capped chickadees have round heads large for their bodies. These are inquisitive birds that are drawn to people; they eventually react when they are fed by hand. Eastern white pine cone seeds are favorites of black-capped chickadees. It is common to see mountain chickadees dangling from branches, limbs, and pine cones. These social birds flock with several other kinds of birds. For mountain chickadees, the seeds from mountain pine cones are a vital food source.

Pine trees are a valuable resource for wildlife of all kinds because they provide food and habitat. A variety of birds can crack open pine cones or probe them to get at the nutrient-rich seeds inside. Some birds use their specially designed beak shapes to eat at this abundant natural table. For many different species of birds, pine cone seeds are an especially important source of food.


What kind of birds eat pine cones?

With just a few basic supplies and simple steps, anyone can turn a pine cone into a feeder that will attract woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, finches and a wide range of other backyard birds.

What eats pine cones?

PINE CONES Birds, such as crossbills and woodpeckers, also strip pinecones, but while the scales of cones eaten by squirrels have clean-cut edges, those made by birds are ragged where they have been pulled out. Woodpeckers also often jam pine cones into crevices in rough bark to make them easier to handle.

Can birds chew pine cones?

But, even if not appreciated as a food, parrots just love rolling, chasing, chewing and tearing pine cones apart! The best time to collect pine cones, typically from spruce or pine trees, is generally in early autumn.

Why do birds knock down pine cones?

Even in the fall, whitebark pinecones don’t open on their own; the seeds remain trapped behind tightly locked scales. It’s largely up to Clark’s Nutcrackers to free those seeds with their hammering beaks and then help spread them.