These Redpolls are migrants from further north. They are quite common and travel all around the polar region – birds banded around here have been found in Siberia. Here are some picking up seeds from around our finch feeder.
These redpolls dropped by our garden today, on their way from the northern U.S.A. where they overwinter, to their breeding grounds in the arctic. They love to eat catkins but today they were at our finch feeder, redpolls being a type of finch.
They are very gregarious birds and easily startled so the whole flock was constantly flying off into the bushes and then returning when the alarm was over. It was just as well they were skittish as the hawk had been chasing chickadees around the bushes just a few hours before.
Here is one closer up, on the feeder:
Another hint was the first snowdrops, right under our corkscrew hazel. All the sunflower husks are from the hazel which is a favourite perch for the birds who need a little time to crack the hulls.
There was still light snowfall and the temperature didn’t get over -2°C but tomorrow is supposed to be above zero at last, maybe even 10°.
We had our white Christmas again this year. So it can go, now. The days are getting longer but I expect we haven’t seen the last of it. Last winter, we only had our driveway ploughed six times, but we’ve already had it done three times before the year really started.
Still, the redpolls are safer from the stray cat that’s been wandering around. It is black so very easy to spot against the snow.
We had a beautiful hoar frost a few days ago, with a fairly heavy mist. It was too misty for the longer-range pictures but this closer look at pine needles worked OK.
This redpoll and this goldfinch are not only different colours, but two different species, both in competition for the same food source. So if they can get along, why can’t humans?
Of course, that was a trick question, because of course we can and do get along. What is odd is that many humans can love one other and hate a second for what would seem like trivial differences to a third.
There are no prizes for guessing which is the redpoll and which the goldfinch, because I know my readers are all expert ornithologists.