Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-09

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
Date: 1/15/2013
Time: 4:45 PM
Length of time observed: <5 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Female
Location: Private residence, Hyde Park.
County: Cache
Elevation: 5200 ft.
Distance to bird: <20 ft
Optical equipment: Leica 8x50 binoculars
Weather: Overcast, cold, 15 F.
Light Conditions: Overcast.
Description:        Size of bird: Smaller than House Finches and Gray-crowned Rosy-finches visiting feeder; estimated at 5"
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Whitish with brown streaking; red on crown.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Finch.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Small finch (estimated at 5"), whitish overall with heavy streaking on back and flanks, small yellow bill, red crown, black lores and throat, black legs and feet. Folded wings appeared dark with whitish wing bars, the rear wing bar prominent.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard. Viewing was done through sliding glass door.
Behavior: Visiting feeder.
Habitat: Backyard; open, with scattered trees and small shrubs.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
House and Cassin's Finches eliminated because they are larger, have dark, not yellow bills, and have more red on their plumage. They also lack black lores and white wing bars. Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, and Lesser Goldfinch, are all relatively similar in size, but none of these species have red crowns or yellow bills. All three species also have at least some yellow or greenish tones in all of their plumages; redpolls lack any yellow or green in their plumage. Hoary Redpoll was considered, but only briefly - this bird lacks the overall frosty tones of a Hoary, and the streaking on the flanks also is too extensive and heavy for Hoary Redpoll. This bird also does not have the steep forehead and relatively tiny stubby bill that a Hoary would have. I was not able to get good looks at the undertail coverts on this bird.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Extensive experience with Common Redpolls in upstate New York, and more recently, considerable experience in Cache County, where they I have seen at least one almost daily during the week of Jan 8-15, 2013. Have seen Hoary Redpoll once, in central New York.
References consulted: None.
Description from: From photos taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Craig R. Fosdick
Observer's address: PO Box 443, Logan, UT, 84323-0443
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Andrew Durso, Kendal Morris.
Date prepared: 1/16/13
Additional material: Photos  Two digital images.
Additional_Comments: At least one other Common Redpoll was present at this location; second bird was seen by Andrew and Kendal while I was busy photographing a Black Rosy-Finch. This report is based on the one bird that I saw and photographed.