Documentation of Common Redpoll

Observer Information

Reporter:  Tresa Moulton 
Other Observers:  David Moulton, Marilyn Palmer, Jim Nowak;

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Common Redpoll
First Date/Time:  12/9/2012
Last Date/Time:  12/9/2012
Duration (total time in view):  1 hr 30 min
County:  Routt
Specific Location:  322 Hilltop Parkway
Number:  65
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Multiple Birds - Mixed
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Bird feeder between our house and neighbor. Neighbor's yard has aspen, maple, and conifer trees close to the feeder. Redpolls also perched in bare aspens at back of our lot.

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Nikon Edg binoculars, 8x42
Distance:  25-30 feet
Light:  Light conditions did not impact the quality of the observation--see photos

Description of the Bird

Finch smaller than House Finch and larger than Pine Siskin. Dark wings with one long and one short bar. Males have red cap, black around orange beak (both top and bottom), reddish-pink wash on breast, and broad streaks on flanks. Back of bird is streaked. Females similar except no reddish-pink wash on breast.
Behaviors: Eating hulled sunflower seeds, or occasionally nyger, at my feeder. First observed December 9, 2012, and continuing through present (January 22, 2013). Numbers vary from 1-2 per day (good weather) to 65 or more (cold and snowing). Usually traveling in a flock, perching in aspen, maple or conifer trees near the feeder or in yard. Usually arrive fairly early in the day.
Call: Not heard; birds are at feeders and I am inside the house.
Plumage: Adult male and female

Similar Species Discussion

House Finches and Pine Siskins are also present. House Finch is larger, does not have an orange beak nor black around the beak. The male House Finch's red wash is more of an orangey red. The Pine Siskin is smaller than a Common Redpoll, has no red on the body, and does have yellow on the wings. Have not seen any Cassin's Finches this winter, but they would be considerably larger than the Redpolls and males have a red crest and only faint streaks on the flanks. None of the Redpolls appeared light enough in color to be Hoary.

Resources Used

Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America and National Geographic Field Guide. Both were used at the time of sighting.

Previous Experience

I have seen Common Redpolls on two previous occasions in Steamboat Springs, and regularly see House Finch, Cassin's Finch, and Pine Siskin.



Additional Information

Comments: Common Redpolls are being reported in many Colorado locations this winter (2012-2013). Several of my Steamboat friends with feeders also have Redpolls visiting.
Time: 7:30-9:00 am
Elevation: 6950
Other Dates: Observed almost daily since their first appearance on December 9, 2012, through present, January 22, 2013
Nearest Town: Steamboat Springs
Independent Observers:

Date Documentation Submitted

1/22/2013 5:26:00 PM
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