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Common Redpoll


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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The Approachable Common Redpoll
These beautiful, tame finches spend their summers in the sub Arctic regions of North America. Residents in the contiguous United States get to enjoy them only in late fall and winter The Approachable Common Redpoll
months, when they can irrupt as far south as Colorado and North Carolina. Common Redpolls are very easy to approach, and their familiar red forecrown is a welcomed sight at backyard feeders.

Interesting Facts:
Family: Fringillidae
Scientific Name: Carduelis flammea
Location: North American distribution consists of sub Arctic woodlands, scrub, and tundra areas from central to northern Canada and Alaska. Common Redpolls are also fond of habitats with birch trees.
Migration: Common Redpolls are known to irrupt in large winter flocks as far south as Colorado and North Carolina in the United States. These winter invasions are said to occur because of limited availability of food further north, yet they follow a fairly well established biennial pattern with a spike in population one winter usually followed by much lower numbers the next. Winter habitat consists of brushy areas. They may flock with other finch species during winter.
Nesting: The Common Redpoll nest consists of twigs and grasses, placed in a bush or on the ground. The female typically lays 4-7 eggs, pale green in color or blue with dark marks. She incubates the eggs for 10-11 days, and during this time the male feeds her. Nestlings leave the nest in about 12 days.
Diet: The Common Redpoll feeds mainly on seeds and buds of trees. It will also consume grasses, weeds, and insects when abundant.
Size and Color: 5-1/2" long. The Common Redpoll has a red forecrown, black chin, and dark tail and wings. The bill is conical shaped and yellow. The male has brown streaking on his flanks, with a rosy breast (also cheeks in summer). The female lacks the red breast, but has brown streaks on the sides of her upper breast.
Special Characteristics:
  • Breeding range is in the tundra and sub Arctic regions around the world.
  • They are not very territorial, and you'll see nests occasionally close together.
  • They rarely return to the same breeding or wintering areas.
  • Strict social behaviors, with males dominant over females except when nesting. Males will feed incubating females during breeding season.
Song: Song is a combination of trills and buzzes. Calls are "chit chit" and "sweeyeet."
Attracting: Common Redpolls will come to bird feeders stocked with sunflower seed or Nyjer thistle seed.
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