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Invasion of the redpolls!

January 10, 2011

Only periodically venturing out of the boreal forests to visit feeders to the south, the appearance of Common Redpolls brings joy to many FeederWatchers. Last winter was a poor year for seeing redpolls and other “irruptive” finches at feeders across much of North America. But the birds are currently on the move, and Kittie Wilson of Pleasant Lake in New London, New Hampshire, has been enjoying a flock of Common Redpolls for the last several weeks. Kittie noted that the repolls, “have visited many homes with feeding stations around the lake and their sound is like spring itself as we are in the darkest of winter. What a treat! They are so jaunty, you can just feel their spunk and vitality!”

Common Redpoll by Kittie Wilson, New London, NH.

Redolls only move out of the boreal forest when supplies of tree seeds are low. Very few redpolls were seen outside of Canada last winter as the birds feasted on natural food sources. Pine Siskins, another irruptive species, have been widely seen in the lower 48 states for several weeks. Redpolls are now moving south and being reported from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. Maps showing the current distribution of redpolls can be found by searching for Common Redpoll under “current season maps” in the FeederWatch Map Room. More information about these gregarious finches can be found on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website. Finch fans may also appreciate the stunning array of finch photos by featured photographer Jacob Spendelow.
  1. January 10, 2011 9:50 am

    I’m eagerly keeping an eye on my feeders for them. Crossing my fingers that they travel near the PA border of upstate NY!

    • Elisabeth permalink
      January 10, 2011 2:47 pm

      Have seen redpolls for the last couple of weeks, one day we saw 21 at the feeder more than we’ve ever had. Saw pine siskins earlier in December but only saw them once this month.
      Live in Baldwinsville, NY

  2. January 10, 2011 4:08 pm

    Redpolls in flocks ranging from 30 – 80 have been passing through eastern New York for the past couple weeks. With this weekend’s snow, they seem to be settling in?

  3. January 11, 2011 11:13 am

    Redpolls on my feeders first sighted on 12/27, Clayton, NY. Also sighted at Wellesley Island Nature Center 12/29. Not in flocks. Just a few. A few pine siskins as well.

  4. Martha Thoits permalink
    January 13, 2011 4:26 pm

    It seems the red poll has come south of New London NH to Warner NH

  5. Tammy Mindo permalink
    January 14, 2011 7:57 pm

    I had a few siskins and 1 redpoll a little over a month ago but haven’t seen any since in NW Jersey.

  6. Maryann Young permalink
    January 18, 2011 11:32 pm

    Have had a delightful ‘irrplosion’ of Redpolls at my feeders for about three weeks.

    Union Dale PA, 45 miles south of Binghamton, 25 miles north of Scranton.

    Redpolls mingling with irregularly appearing siskins, commonly seen Goldfinch, Chickadees, Titmouse, brown and grey nuthatch.

    Best winter in six years for feeder-watching.

  7. Tammie Hache permalink
    January 19, 2011 10:52 am

    It’s been a great winter for Redpolls here in Northern Ontario (just north of Lake Superior). I’m seeing an average of 30 to 40 Common Redpolls at my feeders everyday along with at least a dozen or more Hoary Redpolls. My best season EVER for Hoaries!

  8. Evelyn Amirault permalink
    January 19, 2011 1:34 pm

    we have enjoyed an invasion of redpolls…30-40 at a time swarming the feeders and surounding trees… the chickadees are not happy!!

    • Evelyn Amirault permalink
      January 19, 2011 1:36 pm

      sorry— E Amirault Quispamsis NB Canada

  9. January 20, 2011 4:56 pm

    We had a group of about 5 Redpolls until a couple of weeks ago here in upstate NY. We’re approximately 25 miles below Utica. They came to the feeders for a about 10 days. What a treat it was to see these sweet little birds!

  10. Connie permalink
    January 22, 2011 1:08 pm

    Today was the first I have seen red polls at the feeder. Maybe the 30 below temps had someting to do with them showing up today. I am in northern MN near Itasca Park.

  11. kathy permalink
    January 24, 2011 7:18 am

    My husband spotted a red poll in our pyracantha bush on Jan. 19. So far have not noticed it on the feeders. First time in 25 years in our suburban home in Glassboro, N.J., that we have seen one here. Glassboro is in West Jersey, about 20 miles from Philadelphia. We had pine siskins at our feeders in December.

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