Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2018-04

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
Date: January 11, 2018
Time: 9:00 am
Length of time observed: 2 minutes
Number: 5 or 6
Location: 2200 E. Evergreen Ave., Millcreek, UT
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4100'
Distance to bird: 25 yards
Optical equipment: my eyes
Weather: 40 degrees, calm, cloudy
Light Conditions: filtered light
Description:        Size of bird: small finch
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  songbird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: streaky brown
(Description:)            Bill Type: n/a
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Very small streaky brown birds. Birds appeared paler on the front. Wingbars barely discernable. I was able to see red patch across the upper chest of one bird, but no other details were clear at my distance. After a minute or so they flew off, chattering all the while.
Song or call & method of delivery: Group chatter consisting of calling and singing (mostly chit calls and rattles)
Behavior: Sitting in small tree chattering.
Habitat: Typical suburban habitat - bushes, deciduous and pine trees.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
House and Cassin's finch larger, red normally covers the whole chest on males, song and calls very different.
Hoary Redpolls much lighter.
Pine Siskins, Goldfinches have no red on chest, and sound different.
Rosy finches larger and darker.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Half a dozen sightings in Utah, numerous in Alaska, seen and heard in New Zealand last year.
Very familiar with all similar species.
References consulted: Xeno-canto
Description from: From memory
Observer: Joel Beyer
Observer's address: Salt Lake City, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared:  
Additional material: January 14, 2018
Additional comments: Being at work, I had no camera or binoculars. The chattering of the birds caught my attention, as it sounded vaguely familiar, yet different from anything I commonly hear. Upon seeing the birds, redpolls immediately came to mind, especially when I observed the red on the chest of one bird. Unfortunately my access to the birds was limited, so further sight ID was not possible. Listening to the recordings on Xeno-canto confirmed my first impression.