Redpolls rule

The Great Backyard Bird Count is over for another year, except that checklists from the four days (this past Friday through Monday) still can be submitted through the end of this month.

But there’s no doubt about the No. 1 bird in Minnesota during this year’s count: It’s the common redpoll, wings down.

As of Tuesday evening, Minnesotans had reported seeing 82 species during the four days, and a total of 63,641 birds. The ubiquitous black-capped chickadee appeared on the most checklists: 789. But more individual redpolls were seen than any other bird, by far: a total of 14,561. If I’m doing the math correctly — a questionable proposition — that means more than one out of every five birds seen in the state was a redpoll. No other bird was seen even half that often.

In Duluth, a total of 32 species had been reported and 1,045 birds — and 475 of those were common redpolls. On the other end of the scale, just one American kestrel was reported, along with a single northern shrike, one brown creeper and one house sparrow.

The person who reported the house sparrow would be me. I saw it during a half-hour of looking out the window on Sunday; I also counted 30 redpolls that day. I wasn’t able to find time to count on Monday, but I’m guessing I had close to 50 redpolls swarming — there is no other word — in the area of my feeders for some of Monday morning. I’m not sure of this, but it looked to me like a flock came through and briefly joined the regulars. They fed at a frenetic pace.

If you counted birds but haven’t submitted your checklist yet, or you want to find out, for example, how many American robins were counted in Duluth, you can get it all at the Great Backyard Bird Count Web site here: www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

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