The two or three redpolls I had at my feeders were AWOL for a few days. Suddenly this morning they were back, and they brought a few of their friends. I had at least seven at my feeders today.
Although the picture I took won’t make it into any bird books, you can see the most distinctive feature in the bird that’s facing you: the brick-red yarmulke on the front of the head that gives the redpoll its name. (Yarmulke would be a great Scrabble word, by the way.)
I’m delighted to have seven or so redpolls, but seven isn’t very many when it comes to redpolls. Someone in Minnetonka had been seeing about 15 redpolls at his feeder; suddenly, there were 60. And I’ve heard that some folks around here have been awash in redpoll flocks in the triple digits. That will make your niger (thistle seed) disappear in a hurry. (Redpolls love thistle; that feeder in front has a mixture of thistle and sunflower chips.)
Whether seven or a hundred, I intend to enjoy them while they’re here. In a month or two, the redpolls will have returned to their summer homes in far northern Canada and Alaska.