This Common Redpoll photo was taken at the Bong State Recreation Area in Kansasville, Wisconsin

The female Common Redpoll

Select this link to see photos or a slideshow of the Common Redpoll

The Common Redpoll is a streaked gray-brown finch with a black chin, dark streaks on the flanks, and a bright red cap. The male is pink breasted and the female not. Its range is northern Canada and Alaska and wintering irregularly in the northern and central United States. The habitat is birches, evergreens, and tundra scrub, and in winter weeds and brush. They actively feed on seeds from trees and weeds. Their flocks are seemly always on the move.

I specifically went to the Bong State Recreation Area in Kansasville, Wisconsin to find and photograph the Common Redpoll. I had struck out several times before and also at other locations where they had been seen. It was reported as seen around evergreen trees eating the berries at Bong. Upon arrival at the Bong entrance I met other Milwaukee birders who stated the Redpoll was seen at the evergreens and the bird feeders, but was not regular-good luck on finding them. I went to the bird feeders. On the first and second try at the feeders no Redpolls were seen. I asked other birders and they stated they had seen them around the evergreen tree areas. I walked by the evergreen trees at several areas, and heard birds but saw none. I tried a phishing call but nothing came out. I went back to the bird feeders and saw House Finches, American Goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, White Breasted Nuthatches, Ring-necked Pheasant, and American Tree Sparrows. Several Redwing Blackbirds flocked in and chased the birds at the feeders away. Upon getting ready to leave Bong I noticed different colored birds that were gray-brown with some pink and red coloring flocking in. I had never seen these before so quickly took photos at the feeders, not knowing what species I was taking. The sun was so bright that I couldn’t get a good view of the birds from the camera. While walking to the car I saw a couple of birders and asked if they had seen any Redpolls. They pointed in the direction of a parking lot, and said they had seen them in the evergreens and around the grounds. They also pointed out another birder who was also going to view them. I caught up to him and found out he was from Racine, Wisconsin and an avid birder who had just arrived for bird sightings. We slowly walked toward the evergreen trees and he started phishing, since no birds were seen, only heard. Immediately the birds started to move and flocked to a bare tree in front of us. They seemed to stop to stare at us. He stated these are Redpolls. I was amazed at the Redpolls response, but immediately started taking photos. I got four photos before the flock took off as quickly as they came.

After getting back home where I could view the bird photos better, it was determined that I had taken several male and one female Common Redpolls at the feeders, one female Common Redpoll, and two Hoary Redpolls from the evergreen trees. Also photographed at the feeder were a bright red male House Finch, and an orange variant House Finch. All in all it turned out to be a fairly good bird sighting and photo day, even though the best occurred in a short burst of time.

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