Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Psaltriparus minimus
Date: 8 Nov 2012
Time: 2:50 PM
Length of time observed: ~ 2 minutes
Number: 1
Age: unknown
Sex: unknown, but not adult male. Probably HY female, but I have no experience aging and sexing this species.
Location: Mouth of Steel Canyon, north of Clarkston
County: Cache
Distance to bird:  ~10 ft.
Optical equipment: 10x42 binoculars and Nikon D90 with 80-400mm lens
Weather: Mix of sun and clouds, breezy. Warm for this time of year, ~58F.
Light Conditions: Good, mix of direct and overcast light.
Description:        Size of bird: Small finch.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Small finch.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: See photos.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Short and pointed, yellow with dusky tip.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Please see photographs and similar species section below.
Song or call & method of delivery: Mostly silent, but heard calling as it flew from one shrub to another, "chit-chit-chit".
Behavior: Feeding on catkins in the top of a birch tree, loosely associated with a flock of about 30 American Goldfinches.
Habitat: At the mouth of a canyon where juniper dominated hillsides meet dry agricultural fields.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
With the short, pointed yellow bill, red cap on top of the head, blackish lores, forehead, and chin and overall whitish and brown pattern on a small finch, the only possible confusion species is Hoary Redpoll. This individual had a slightly longer bill than expected for Hoary Redpoll. The streaking on the flanks was extensive, more so than on even a first-year female Hoary. Most importantly, the undertail coverts were densely and thickly streaked, with the central covert more dark brown than white.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen Common Redpoll on one previous occasion in Utah (see record 2008-05), once in Minnesota, and on many occasions while working as a guide on St. Paul Island, Alaska, where they are regular migrants. I have seen Hoary Redpolls on several occasions in the same job at the same location.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds, Pyle's Identification Guide to North American Birds.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Ryan P. O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr., Logan
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other Observers: Andrew Durso and J.D. Willson.
Date prepared: 8 Nov 2012
Additional material: Photos