Common Redpolls in Lafarge Meadows

IMG_9156 (Lafarge Meadows - male)b

I headed to Lafarge Meadows yesterday because I’d never been to that part of Fish Creek Park before and a recent post on Birds Calgary had piqued my interest. American White Pelicans? Yes please! The post also mentions a lone Hooded Warbler. Hooded Warblers don’t usually visit Calgary; the theory is it got lost on its way to Mexico and ended up in the Lafarge Meadows. Poor little warbler! I figured the exotic warbler would not stay long, but J forwarded 2 news articles to me this week which said the little fellow was still around. I did not catch a glimpse of the black and yellow cutie but I did meet 3 people who had seen it and were hoping for a second look. I didn’t see any pelicans either (they’ve likely migrated further south by now).

But I did see a Common Redpoll, a bird I’d never seen before! They breed worldwide in the far north (mostly north of the 60th parallel). Some live year round in northern Canada and Alaska, while others winter all over Canada and the northern half of the US. You can see the map on All About Birds. They can survive in temperatures as low as -54 degrees Celsius (-65 degrees Fahrenheit) and some tunnel into the snow to stay warm on cold nights.

IMG_9159b

On a path along the Bow River, I heard the bushes singing, stopped and looked around for movement. A few minutes later, a little group of sparrow-sized, light-brownish birds flew into a nearby bush, flitted about from branch to branch, moved to another bush, then another bush and then out of sight. I managed to capture a few clearish photographs. When I got home, I identified two species – Common Redpolls and American Tree Sparrows.

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9 Comments

  1. We often see the redpolls here in northern Minnesota in the winter. You have a nice blog 🙂

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    1. Thanks for enjoying my blog Laura :-). It is always interesting for me to hear who else in North America (or elsewhere in the world) is seeing the birds I’m seeing. I enjoyed your blog as well – I like the way you capture the plants around you, in words and photographs, as the seasons change. I recognized many of the plants I see here. And I learned two new flower names – Cosmos (I saw them in a few places in Calgary this fall) and Forget-Me-Nots (I saw these in Vancouver in the spring).

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  2. The Common Redpoll is a very handsome bird. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation Sharon :-). I am always excited to share a new bird. Do you see them in your area?

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      1. I’m never seen them in Las Vegas. I’ll have to check and see if the live here in our state.

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        1. They don’t usually winter as far south as Las Vegas but they were sighted there on an irruptive year according to this article on winter irruptions: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/inside-the-massive-winter-irruptions-known-as-superflights/. It seems that tree seed production fluctuates from year to year. So on years when trees, such as spruce and birch, produce few seeds, north-wintering bird species will fly further south in the US.

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          1. Thank you Myriam, I appreciate this information.

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  3. How exciting you got to see the Redpolls at least! I’ve never seen them, but would love to.

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    1. Yay Redpolls! I’ve seen a few other winter finches this week too. It doesn’t look like Redpolls show up near the coast of California very often but there are a few sightings on eBird.

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