Saturday, January 29, 2011

Not so Common Redpolls

I photographed these cute little birds at our feeders on January 5th and 7th.

Common Redpolls, as they are known, live in the boreal and taiga regions of Canada but are not so common in our area of upstate New York.

Sometimes though, we get lucky.

This happens when supplies of tree seeds in the boreal forests are low and they need to find food sources elsewhere.

When they move south to our northern states it's called an 'irruption' and typically occurs every other winter. We didn't see them at all last winter, but a few visited in early 2009. Posted by Picasa

The male has a red breast as well as a red cap, but the female only has the red cap.
You can see a mixture of males and females on the tray. Click on the photos for a closer view.

They are perky little members of the finch family. The same size as Goldfinches, they are often seen feeding with a group of 'Goldies'.

Another 'irruptive' finch that we love to see at our feeders are Pine Siskins. I was lucky enough to catch them on November 2nd 2010, but sadly, haven't seen them since. As you can see, they are very similar to Redpolls but lack the red markings.
There was a huge irruption of Siskins during the winter of 2008-09 and we enjoyed these gregarious little birds for most of those winter months. None were seen the following winter and we missed their friendly presence.

There's a post about this winter's Redpoll irruption on the new Project Feederwatch blog here if you'd like to read more about these birds and find out where else they've been spotted.

Here's another little 'lady' Redpoll.

I hope both these uncommon visitors will stop by again before the winter is over to liven up our feeders and brighten our days. 

Jasmine and Hannah might even rouse themselves for such an event! Posted by Picasa


Tabor said...[Reply]

They DO look healthy. Glad they find food at your place. We do not seem to get them here.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Oh, so that is why I don't see them very often. None this year or last, but Lynne from Hasty Brook blog saw some a couple of weeks ago.

They are such sweet looking little birds, but I guess they don't impress the cats, do they?

I hope you are not too cold over there. We have had temps in the 30's the last two days.

Kathleen said...[Reply]

I haven't seen either of these at my feeders Kerri. They went to the right place when they found your garden ~ you have great feeders and food for all the birds. I love that photo of your cats! So typical.

ps. You asked about my Amaryllis and yes, I do have pretty good luck getting them to reliably rebloom. I fertilize the heck out of them all summer tho ~ I think that helps a LOT.

sweetbay said...[Reply]

Both your cats and the Redpolls are adorable. I haven't seen Pine Siskins since we lived in PA (and there a couple of really cold winters when we lived there), but Randy has seen them at his feeders in Rougement, which is about an hour and a half north and west of here.

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

This just goes to show that you are having a rough winter Kerri. What fun to find Redpolls at your feeders. They are lucky to have found your feeders. Keep warm and comfortable like your kitties. They look like they are enjoying the indoors.

Sue Swift said...[Reply]

Sweeties. Wish we had them here.

Michelle said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri
Thanks for you comments and thoughts about our safety. We are fine thanks and have managed to avoid the floods and now the impending Cyclone Yasi. Tanya of course used to live in Townsville but now in China. And while we are sweltering you are experiencing so much snow and treacherous conditions. I just hope the world doesn't totally fall apart yet!!
As always - your photos are gorgeous.

Seeing Anew said...[Reply]

GREAT shots, Kerri! I chuckled over those lazy cats on the back of the sofa, and the shot with the red poll and two Christmas lights was such a great composition! I also love your banner image -- the cardinal. And now I can add a new word to my vocabulary -- irruption! Great post!

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

You got some great pictures! I have a pan of birdseed on my back deck and get a lot of sparrows and chickadees, but there have been some Stellars Jays out there too. Of course they try glean all the corn before the squirrels find it.
We don't have snow at the present time but the nights are freezing which makes a sparkly coat of frost on everything in the morning. It's pretty but sure is cold!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...[Reply]

Yay for redpolls! We have a few of them, but mostly right now we have piles of snow buntings...and snow! Here's hoping you're not lambasted with too much when it finds its way to you...

verobirdie said...[Reply]

Oh, you've got two monorail cats!

I love your visitors, they are so cute.
I have many birds visiting this year, full of colors too. I think they now know the restaurant is good :-)
Are you buried under snow? I hope you are well though.
Loves from France

Moi said...[Reply]

Such cute little things! :) And you photgraph birds so well..I can never get them to pose for me! I hope you are staying warm this has been crazy lately!Take care!

Moi said...[Reply]

Such cute little things! :) And you photgraph birds so well..I can never get them to pose for me! I hope you are staying warm this has been crazy lately!Take care!

HORIZON said...[Reply]

Lovely photos Kerri- the cats made me smile- how relaxed they are. We get a lot of different finch up this way too- lovely wee birds with a beautiful sound. We've been feeding the birds all winter -you feel so sorry for them out in such cold weather.
I was sure that l'd left a message on the post below but think l may not have pressed word verification button. Anyway l hope all is well with you and the family. I finally came back after an unplanned absence-so much has happened but things have settled now and l got this new computer for my birthday so no excuses.
Take care,

Jan@Thanks for today. said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, I do remember the Pine Siskin irruption a couple of years ago. In fact, that's when I first learned about them. I've seen quite a few this year, but not nearly as many as '08. Last year I don't recall many and the year before I think probably none at all. As for that Common Redpoll, it would be an uncommon sight here, as well. In fact, I can't say I've ever seen one. They do look a lot like the house finch but there is definitely a notable difference. I would love to see one. I'm seeing many house finches and might even be seeing a few purple finches but those 2 varieties are often confused by observers, as well. Oh, but it is FUN watching...and that's the main thing, right? Having fun and enjoying nature get me through the winter and I'm sure you, too. I know your NY winters can be cold!

I'll be doing the GBBC too and will be excited to record my observations.

boneygirl said...[Reply]

Lovely other favorite hobby is watching birds feed.

hob etc said...[Reply]

beautiful photos

Midlife Mom said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, yes I had a wonderful time with Needled Mom while on our business trip. We are so lucky to be able to see each other once a year while our hubbies are working! Well it's both work and pleasure, we always have a great time. I so enjoy seeing all of the flowers especially when its so cold and snowy here! I was looking for a yellow hibiscus but the only one I saw was in someones yard and I didn't think I should go there! ha!

Years ago we had TONS of pine siskins and red polls and now I rarely see them. Haven't even seen any juncos this year and I love them, they are so cute. I think the turkeys are getting a lot of the feed that the ground birds usually get, at least that is what they tell me. At least I have lots of chickadees and woodpeckers plus mourning doves. Oh also the loud blue jays that take all the peanuts away from the squirrels!

We have so much snow, I must get out and get some pictures of it for my next post. It is more then we have had in years. I hope to do some snowmobiling on Saturday.

Your cats look fat and happy like mine!! :o) xoxoxo

Apple said...[Reply]

Jasmine & Hannah look quite comfortable!

I've been trying to photograph birds for the last two weeks and all I have are blurry or mere dots in my photos. Your shots are wonderful as always.

em said...[Reply]

i love redpolls!!!!! how cute, the little red caps sticking up slightly, as the birds wink into the oncoming snow! what wonderful birds you get to see!

the composition of the birds on the wires would make a lovely christmas card, don't you think?

Barbara said...[Reply]

I like your bird pictures and I am especially fond of your last snapshot :-) !! Those two sleepy heads are doing the perfect job in winter :-) ! As this winter was quite hard for the birds here too, we used a lot of bird food...I guess I never used as much as in this year.
Have a lovely day!