Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-17

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea/Carduelis flammea
Date: 3 Feb 2013
Time: 1:10 PM
Length of time observed: ~45 min
Number: 40
Age: Mixed
Sex: Both
Location: City Creek Canyon, Richmond
County: Cache
Distance to bird: Down to ~10 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon Monarch 10x42 binoculars and Nikon D90 with 80-400mm lens
Weather: Sunny and cool, about 25 degrees F.
Light Conditions: Bright direct sunlight from behind me.
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Easily identified as redpolls by the generally whitish base color, brownish streaking, black on the face around the bill, distinct whitish wing bars, yellow bill, and red on the top of the head. Several were adult males as indicated by the extensive pink wash on the chest.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: “Chet-chet-chet” calls heard from the flock on many occasions.
Behavior: Foraging in sagebrush and teasel. Together in one flock, but usually no more than 4 or 5 individuals on the same shrub. Total count of 40 is a coarse estimate made when the flock was in flight, and is accurate within about plus-or-minus 10.
Habitat:  Open creek draw at the base of the Bear River Range.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The only potential confusion species is Hoary Redpoll. I checked carefully for any candidate Hoary Redpolls by looking for paler birds with shorter bills, but none had thin enough streaking in the sides, pale enough rumps, pale enough undertail coverts, small enough bills, 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, 2012-45, and 2013-03).
References consulted: None
Description from: Photos taken at the time of sighting
Observer: Ryan O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr., Logan
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 4 Feb 2013 (lost by website and resubmitted)
Additional material: Photographs