Sunday, March 8, 2015

Redpolls and Robins

Laura Erickson, MN, Saks-Zim Bog, January 2009

Signs that the season is changing can be seen at the feeder. Only at this time of year do I get Common Redpolls in huge groups. You don't have to be looking out the window to know they are there as they announce their presence with their clatterous calls. Busy and frenetic! They are actually on their way home to the most northern regions of Canada. They are small like sparrows but have heavily striped side markings and a bright red cap. Unmistakeable! The males will show a bit a red on the breast. 

Bill McMullen, ON, Clarence-Rockland, March 2011

Females might fool you into thinking they are a sparrow, but then you see the bright red head and yellow finch beak. On their way back to the arctic tundra and boreal forests, they are only passing through looking for birch catkins and weed seeds. Your thistle or nyjer seed will be perfect for them. Click here to hear their call.
Garth McElroy/VIREO
Robins also have been passing through. These Robins seem a bit different though. Their bellies are much brighter and the white part of their bellies also is brighter white. Apparently sometimes Robins do not migrate far and can overwinter here in Maine, but this large group at the feeder seemed to be on the move. I hope the fruit and seeds will be plentiful for them along the way.
What interesting birds have you seen at the feeder lately?

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