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Common Redpolls Appearing

1-26-15 common redpoll male 077The birds most commonly associated with winter irruptions are the winter finches — Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, and Evening Grosbeak. Their food supply, or lack thereof, in the Canadian boreal forests where they normally overwinter, determines whether or not they will be seen as far south as the U. S. Key trees affecting finch movements in the boreal forest are spruces, birches and mountain-ashes.

Common Redpolls feed primarily on the catkins (seed-containing fruit) produced by birch and alder trees. When catkin production is low further north, as it is this winter, Common Redpolls leave these areas and irrupt into areas where food is more plentiful. (Photo: male Common Redpoll)

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11 responses


    Please tell us about the lives of birds and wild animals during the HUGE SNOW STORM we are expecting tonight. Is there any way we can help? LOVE YOUR POSTS AND BOOK! Thank you ever so much, Dixie Paquin

    January 26, 2015 at 10:39 am

    • Have you read Bernd Heinrich’s book, Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival? It’s a great book and will most likely answer many or all of your questions!

      January 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm

  2. Cordelia Merritt

    Great shot, Mary. I had two visit last week , but none since then. (Since my memory is so spectacularly bad, their sporadic appearance always sends me to Crossley to confirm a tentative (very) i.d.). Cordie

    January 26, 2015 at 11:59 am

  3. Eileen Crawford

    It has been “raining” redpolls at my house…fascinating and beautiful to hear their goldfinch-like voices

    January 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

  4. Sweet capture of such a darling bird.

    January 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

  5. Laurel Powell

    Can you explain the appearance of bluebirds? Last Saturday, i watched a small flock enjoying sumac berries, wild rose berries and other berries/seeds near my pond. My recollections of bluebird sighting is closer to springtime. I most certainly enjoyed watching them on a blue sky day!

    January 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    • I’m not sure where you live, Laurel, but Eastern Bluebirds overwinter as far north as the southern half of Vermont and New Hampshire — some migrate, but some stick around all winter.

      January 26, 2015 at 10:10 pm

  6. Rebecca Purdum

    Hi Mary. We live in Ripton and have had Redpolls since December. The flock has grown to over 60 birds. They look like schools of fish flying back and forth between our feeders.

    Becky Purdum

    January 27, 2015 at 7:33 am

  7. Michele Girard

    What a sight a redpoll would be during or after this storm–its coloring against the snow would be lovely. We have cardinals, juncos and a blue-jay visiting our feeders so far this morning.

    January 27, 2015 at 9:51 am

  8. A flock of about 15 redpolls have been visiting our feeders (Sunapee) since mid-December. That’s a small amount compared to other eruptive years. Always seem to have one goldfinch hanging out with the group. Major feeding frenzy going on right now in the midst of the storm!

    January 27, 2015 at 11:58 am

  9. Pingback: Common Redpoll | FritzImages

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