With all the talk of Snowies another northern specialty hasn't gotten quite the attention that the larger obvious bird has. But it is already looking like a stellar year for Common Redpolls in the lower 48 as well. Utah already has had one report of a single bird at Antelope Island State Park, while Idaho and Wyoming are now having multiple reports, with flocks of up to 20 birds. It seems more and more likely with each passing day that redpolls might make a decent push into Utah this winter.
These lovely little finches are quite easy to identify at a backyard feeder, or even in a mixed flock of goldfinches feeding in a tree. But the best clue and perhaps the first sign of these birds may be their incredible chattering. In flight or feeding at the tops of trees it would be easy to miss these guys, but if you are listening you may hear them far before you catch sight of them Below is an example of a mixed bag of calls and chatter from Xeno canto. Take a listen.
For the next couple weeks and the rest of the winter this would be one set of calls I would listen to and learn. Because when you find that flock of redpolls that everyone else can chase to look at, you'll have a lot of birds thankful that you learned the sound that helped you chase down the flock!