Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Order: PASSERIFORMES Family: Finches (Fringillidae)
The Common Redpoll is a small bird of only 5" in length with a wingspan around 8". The male and female resemble each other except the male has a pinkish breast. Both sexes have a brownish red crown on the forehead, short yellow bill, blackish-brown feet, brownish-black throat, and a side belly streaked up and down with blackish-brown feathers.
A group of redpolls are collectively known as a "gallup" of redpolls. They are an abundant breeding bird in northern Canada during the summer, and are seen in Michigan primarily in the winter. Even then, it generally occurs during irruptions, typically every other year.
Like the Goldfinch the Common Redpolls are busy, acrobatic, and fly in large flocks in the winter. They also have the undulating flight pattern, feed at the very tips of small branches, hang upside-down, and use their feet to hold food. Redpolls have a pouch in their throat that allows them to gather large amounts of food quickly, and then retreat to a safe place to process the food. They are quite vocal, making constant contact calls within their flocks, and are often located by their flight calls. In the winter they can sleep in snow tunnels to preserve body heat. A frequent visitor to backyard feeders, this lively bird is extremely social and constantly moving. Even when resting at night, members of the flock fidget and twitter.
Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, Holboell's Redpoll and Greater Redpoll