Sunday Showcase: Common Redpolls

Rob English took these photos along the river at Lafarge Meadows in December. Click to enlarge.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Showcase: Common Redpolls

  1. Nice photos. Are you sure you don’t have a few Hoary Redpolls in that mix? Photo 1, 4 (bird on right), and 5 seem the likely candidates given their whiteness and lack of flank streaking. Other indicators are hard to judge. Opinions? 🙂

    • I think you’re right that the birds you indicate are probably Hoaries (but note that it’s possible, and I think likely, that all three photos show the same bird). All are males (pink wash on breast), which are always lighter than females whether Common or Hoary, but the faintness of the pink colour suggests Hoary. Also, these shots show a bird with almost no flank streaking, and the undertail coverts (seen in photo 5) look pure white, which is diagnostic for Hoary (Hoaries sometimes have undertail streaking, but I believe Commons always do). The bill doesn’t look particularly tiny, but bill size is variable and the apparent size of the bill is influenced by how fluffed out the feathers are. So I would call that bird (if it is one bird) a Hoary.
      The left-hand bird in photo #5 is also a candidate, but the indications aren’t as clear.
      I’m certainly no expert on this thorny question, so any other opinions are welcome!
      Bob Lefebvre

  2. I have had many of these beautiful little Redpolls visitng my birdfeeder, this winter. What other birds can I attract with assorted feeds which include, wild bird seed, suet and of course the very well enjoyed black-oil sunflower seeds, this is what the Redpolls are pigging out on, and I mean that. I fill the feeder every morning and by late afternoon it is literally empty.
    I love watching the birds, the Redpolls don’t sing much.
    I look forward to any ideas.
    I live in Crossfield, which is North of Calgary.

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