Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-14

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Cardeulis flammea  [Acanthis flammea]
Date: January 25, 2013
Time: 9 a.m.
Length of time observed: 3 to 5 minutes
Number: 2-3
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: Salt Lake City avenues area
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 5200 ft
Distance to bird: 2 feet
Optical equipment: Canon SLR camera
Weather: Cold, wet foggy
Light Conditions: fairly bright
Description:        Size of bird: 5approx inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: fairly light grey with red wash on great, red cap, black mask
(Description:)            Bill Type: small seed-eating bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I first saw them two weeks ago and have seen three times at feeders. Most I have seen at any one time is three individuals. Overall light grey streaked body, two white wing bars, bright red cap, black mask, yellowish small seed eating bill (some individuals a little darker bill). At least two had pink wash on breast of males. Small size, about 5 inches (smaller than house finch)
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: n/a
Behavior: They have been active on both sunflower feeder and niger thistle sock. Very skittish, and fly away as I approach window
Habitat: Residential. Foothills scrub oak.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
House finches are common here, but redpoll is slightly smaller, much lighter, more grey on body, distinct red cap and black mask, wingbars, smaller bill. We have had Cassin's finches in the past, but redpoll is very much smaller and distinctive markings, altho the red cap color is more similar to Cassin's than to house finch.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
In 27 years at this location I have never seen redpolls. However, I have seen them in Illinois during a particularly cold Christmas-time
References consulted: Kaufman, Sibley, Audubon iPad app photos
Description from: From photos taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Patricia Richards
Observer's address: 1582 E Tomahawk Dr
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: William Nichols (husband)
Date prepared: Jan 26, 2013
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: I would be willing to let others observe my feeders, but these birds seem to visit only intermittently, so I am not sure when you could catch them.