This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) belongs to the family Frin-gillinae and sub-family Loxinae (Crossbills). It is found chiefly in the northern countries of Europe and occasionally visits Great Britain, sometimes in great numbers, and apparently for abstracting the seeds from fir cones, for which the bill is peculiarly adapted. It is from 6 to 6½ in. in length. The old male has a red plumage, and the young male a reddish one, inclining to yellow; the female is of a greenish colour. The birds build their nests and breed at all seasons of the year, in December, as in March, April and May. The common crossbills sometimes do considerable injury to apples, tearing them in pieces to come at the pips or seeds.