Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-75


Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
Date: Dec 19, 2017
Time: 10:00 am
Length of time observed: 30 seconds
Number: 6
Age: Adults
Sex: Mixed flock
Location: Yellow Fork Canyon, Herriman, UT
County:  Salt Lake
Latilong: 40 07.4"N 112 50.3"W
Elevation: 6000 feet
Distance to bird:  Recognizable from 5 feet to about fifteen feet away. They were moving down canyon.
Optical equipment: Binoculars and naked eye
Weather:  Cloudy to sunny
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: Small about 5"
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Light breast with bright red cap. Brownish back
(Description:)            Bill Type: Conical (finch)
(Description:)                              
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
They were first noticed by their calls. The birds were moving down canyon and at about five to fifteen feet away finally got some good looks. Distinguishing physical characteristics included: small, deep-bellied, small-headed birds with thin-based sharp pointed, conical bill, red forecrown, black chin and lore and 2 white wingbars. Males had pinkish red on breast and flanks. Females had little or no pink on breast and flanks.
Song or call & method of delivery: I hike Yellow Fork Canyon a lot and am familiar with most birds and even where they are located on the trails. These birds were making quite the racket together. This is what made me notice them. They didn't sound like the more familiar species. They made a long series of repeated short calls and trills.
Behavior: 6 small finches moving through some low to medium low branches along the trail. Feeding within the branches and continuously calling to each other.
Habitat: Mostly scrub oak and juniper woodland.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
House finch is larger and has different patches of reddish coloring on head and rump. Pine Siskins are darker with yellow in wings and no red. American Goldfinches are drab gray and yellow this time of year, no streaking and no red. Hoary Redpoll is paler with an unstreaked rump.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
If I made a circle around my house with a radius of four miles I have seen Common Redpolls twice within the last five years or so near Herriman, UT. Reference E-bird checklists: S12060625 and S12452337. Also saw them a couple of years ago at Jeremy Ranch Road E-bird checklist S26116900. Lots of experience with House Finches, Pine Siskins, and American Goldfinches. They are very common species are very easily eliminated in this case.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds, Internet sources
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Rachel LeBlanc
Observer's address: Herriman, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: Dec 26, 2017
Additional material:  
Additional comments: