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Melissa Mayntz

Mailbag Monday Which Redpoll?

By January 28, 2013

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This week's question, from Agnes in Minnesota, is one a lot of birders have been asking this winter...

"I love the different birds that come to my feeders in winter, and I've had some redpolls visiting, but how can I tell which redpolls they are? I know both are in my area, but I don't know who my guests are!"

Common redpolls and hoary redpolls look so similar, they can be hard even for experienced birders to tell apart. If fact, not everyone agrees that they're actually separate species! There are clues you can look for, however, to tell which redpoll is which, including plumage color, bill size, face shape and how much of their crown is that characteristic red. Add up enough clues, and you can learn to be more confident about your redpolls.

Do you want to have redpolls and other winter finches in your backyard? Learn how to offer Nyjer to birds and they'll visit in flocks for the tasty treat!

Common Redpoll
Photo Tim


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