COMMON REDPOLL – (Acanthis flammea)
The Common redpoll is a small bird of the finch family. It measures approximately 12 cm (5 in.) long and the male has a red forehead and some red washed up on the breast. The yellow bill has black feathers around it. The top parts are streaked medium brown, and the under parts are grey. Females are similar but don’t have red on the breast. The word ‘flammea’ in the Latin name refers to ‘flame’.
The habitat of common redpolls is the coniferous boreal forest. The bird is well equipped to survive a harsh habitat with extra feathers, and can withstand temperatures even lower than minus 40 (C and F). It can also dig a small tunnel in the snow to keep warmer.
In the summer they feed on insects and spiders in addition to seeds. When feeding on tree seeds, they have the ability of shaking them from the tree, and then eating them after they fell on the ground. As with Blue jays, common redpolls also have a throat poach to store seeds for future consumption.
The common redpoll does not breed on PEI and has never been observed in the summer, as it breeds in the north regions of Canada, Europe and Asia. They number in the tens of millions and are not considered at risk. The nest is usually placed in the lower part of the tree or shrub. Common redpolls can cross continents when migrating. The common redpoll is sometimes seen in large flocks on the island in the winter depending on food availability, where they feed mainly on weed seeds in fields. The bird is easily attracted to feeders.