Category Archives: Common Redpoll

Ontario – Part 5: Redpolls

Species Comparison: Common and Hoary Redpoll

At the Hilda Road feeders in Shirleys Bay a handful of Common Redpolls were joined on occasion by one of two lighter colored redpolls. Notice on the Common Redpoll below that it is overall dark with heavy streaks on the flank. The bill is elongated and though we can not see it in this picture the rump and undertail coverts are likley to be streaked.

In a nutshell Hoary Redpoll’s are supposed to be frostier, have a white rump, white undertail coverts and a smaller bill. Easy you say, but not really! There really is so much overlap between Hoary and Common Redpoll that some ornithologists feel that it is just normal variation of one species. This makes those that fall in between, including females, that much harder to identify.

Over the course of the weekend we did see several frosty colored birds, but it was only this one (above) that we thought fit the (smaller) bill! Overall it does look very much whiter, including the head and scapulars, though still not as frosty as some can be. Notice that the frosty head does offset the neat small red fore-crown. We did get to see the rump and noticed that there was no marking on it and the view we see here shows no undertail streaks.

all photos © adrian binns

Another Irruptive Species Shows Up

Yet another irruptive boreal species has shown up this winter, the Pine Siskin. It is a small seed eating boreal finch that breeds mainly in coniferous forests across southern Canada and throughout the upper elevations of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest. Undoubtedly this southward movement along with White-winged Crossbills this winter is related toContinue Reading

ONTARIO – Part 3: Algonquin

Birding when the thermometer reads a frigid zero degrees may seem a little extreme, but on a brilliant sunny day in Algonquin Provincial Park it is the norm! This wonderful wilderness with it towering spruce and pines, outlining large expanses of flat snow covered lakes, makes this one of winter’s most beautiful birding locations. ThereContinue Reading