Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-24

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
Date: 13 January 2013
Time: 9:30 am
Length of time observed: 2 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: Eagle Mountain
County: Utah
Distance to bird: about 600 feet maybe. It was quite distant.
Optical equipment: Kowa spotting scope
Weather: Cloudy, cold
Light Conditions: Fair
Description:        Size of bird: Small
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Small finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: streaked gray-brown
(Description:)            Bill Type: Small, thick and short
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Small bright red cap on the very top of the head, small pale bill, contrasting black chin and black around the base of the bill, brownish streaky body similar to a pine siskin in color but a little cleaner. Pink wash across the chest.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None that I could hear.
Behavior: Feeding on the snow on the tips of grasses that were just peaking out of the snow. It was with a large flock of Horned Larks and Rosy-Finches.
Habitat: Wide Open Fields all around, the tips of grasses were just poking out of the snow. There was some sagebrush fields in the area but not close to where this bird was feeding.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Hoary Redpoll - This bird seemed too dark and streaky to be Hoary.

Eliminated Pine Siskin by red cap, red on chest, black around the base of the bill.

Eliminated House and Cassin's Finches by pale bill with black chin and black around the base of the bill. Red on the top of the head was a small round cap. This bird was smaller than House or Cassin's Finches with a daintier bill.

Gold Finches don't have brown streaky bodies.

No Sparrows have bright red caps, with rosy red chests.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen a few redpolls in Utah and several in Idaho. I am very familiar with Pine Siskins, House Finches, Cassin's Finches, American Goldfinches and Lesser Goldfinches. All these birds visit my home feeders often and in large numbers. I have never seen a Hoary Redpoll.
References consulted: Sibley Guide
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 N Pleasant Grove, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: 21 February 2013
Additional material: Photos