I believe I have a new older-comer to the feeder today. I happened to look up and spotted a less-familiar creature.
But first, a glimpse at FINCH MADNESS.
There are various finches feeding in a frenzy these days.
House finches and Goldfinches are flocking more or less together.
And they come in great numbers.
This might be hard to see, but I assure you it isn’t even close to half the finches that are coming around.
Now for the different bird.
The Goldfinches were not welcoming this this newcomer.
I am not sure who this is, exactly. I am pretty sure this is a finch rather than a sparrow. It doesn’t seem to be the enemy sparrow, House Sparrow, in any stage of development.
The black bib suggests but lack of red breast suggests that this a Hoary Redpoll, though you would think that the cap would be brighter red. I have had Redpolls here in the past and their caps were pretty brilliant. Could this be an immature bird? Perhaps an immature Common Redpoll? There is streaking on the breast but the rump seems white.
This House Finch is waiting for your donations to the feed fund.
UPDATE: I asked around and the consensus is that the mystery bird is Common Redpoll.
Definitely a hoary redpoll.
Yep, introibo’s right. They’re infrequent visitors to the northern US in certain winters, often found within flocks of Common Redpolls. This one might have joined up with a group of Pine Siskins, which you have in large numbers.
Thirding hoary redpoll!
Wow, you sure do have the finches! I’m sure they can empty a feeder in no time. The new bird is really pretty, I like all the white he/she is showing. From a quick glance in my bird book, I think you are right about Redpoll, common or hoary, I can’t say. There are two other birds, who look a little like your visitor, one is Harris’ Sparrow and the other is Snow Bunting in winter plumage. They may be a bit larger than your guy/girl. It is a very pretty little bird at any rate. Thank you for the posting the wintry feeding frenzy photos.
I want to know if the squirrals, sorry rats with good PR have been giving Father any trouble this year?
Definitely Hoary Redpoll. Usually they come in small groups, like three. Maybe he is lost, as he looks adolescent. I am amazed you have birds, as all of ours left over three weeks ago. Of course, we now have 5 inches of snow mixed with ice, so they are smarter than the rest of us.
Whoa-you sure have quite the ‘feeding frenzy’ there, Father Z!
And you’ve got more snow than we have here in Upstate New York!
I love the way you get such close ups of the birds and their pretty plumage!
I am pretty sure it is Common Redpoll, rather than Hoary.
I suspect I will be seeing more Redpolls soon, and Siskins. Reports from Canada are that there isn’t enough to eat. They should be coming down the the US to survive.
How can you tell the difference between the Hoary and Common when they are young? I am interested. We mostly have Common Redpolls here, and the occasional Hoary…
The iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad application iBird Explorer Pro states in the description of the Common Redpoll:
Common Redpoll: Hoary Redpoll is paler and has smaller bill and faint streaks on rump, sides, and flanks. Hoary Redpoll breast is paler pink and restricted to sides.
… non tantum in eo oculos delectant intra fenestras aves volitantes, quantum offendit quod alienus odor opplet nares. (Varro De Agricultura, Lib. III)
I alawys thought they were purple finches. They are good songbirds and they don’t have much love for sparrows either. But our cat sure loves the sparrows.
Common Redpoll, my favorite winter bird.