Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-03

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
Date: 6 Jan 2013
Time: 1:02 PM
Length of time observed: 10 min
Number: 78
Age: Mixed
Sex: Mixed
Location: Liberty
County: Weber
Distance to bird:  ~30 yards
Optical equipment: Nikon 20x spotting scope, Nikon 10x42 Monarch ATB binoculars, Nikon D90 with 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens.
Weather: Overcast, cold.
Light Conditions: Overcast/cloudy.
Description:        Size of bird: Small finch
(Description:)       Basic Shape: small finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: see below
(Description:)            Bill Type: small, triangular/pointed, yellow
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Easily identified as redpolls by the generally whitish base color, brownish/blackish streaking, black on the face above the bill, below the bill, and in the lores, distinct whitish wing bars, yellow bill, and red on the top of the head. Some were adult males as indicated by the extensive pink wash on the chest.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Flock giving many of the typical "chit-chit-chit" calls.
Behavior: Perched in a tree near a feeder among House Finches, American Goldfinches, and Pine Siskins. Some coming in to feed at the seed feeder.
Habitat: Rural; in a backyard
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The only potential confusion species is Hoary Redpoll. We checked carefully for any candidate Hoary Redpolls by looking for paler birds, but none had thin enough streaking in the sides, pale enough rumps, pale enough undertail coverts, or were otherwise suspicious of being Hoary Redpolls.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen both Redpoll species on multiple occasions. I've seen Hoary Redpoll while working as a birding guide in Alaska. I've seen Common Redpolls on that job, while traveling in Minnesota, and on several occasions in Utah (e.g., see records 2008-05 and 2012-45).
References consulted: None.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Ryan O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr, Logan, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Aaron Smolley and Doug Gochfeld.
Date prepared: 7 Jan 2013.
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: This has been a big year for irruption of Common Redpolls into Utah, with multiple individuals reported to eBird almost every day.