An abundant breeding bird of the boreal forest, the Common Redpoll is seen in Calgary primarily in the winter. Even then, it generally occurs during cyclical irruptions, when flocks of seed eaters occasionally leave the forest and move south.
Redpolls are about 5″ high, and have a bright red forehead and a black chin. This little flock of four birds that visited last week are either juveniles or females, as the males have a pink breast. Very rarely, you may see a Hoary Redpoll, which is a very similar species that has lighter streaking on the flanks, and a stubbier bill.
These tiny members of the finch family move through our area in early October and late April. They often travel in mixed flocks with other finches such as the Pine Siskin or House Finch. In my yard they all prefer the sunflower chips to the niger seed feeders.
Posted by Pat Bumstead