[CT Birds] Redpolls - many, many, many

Fran fzygmont at charter.net
Wed Jan 16 19:33:40 EST 2013

What is it like to experience hundreds of redpolls descending on your feeders?  

Well a quick count this morning I tallied 262, but, that was early this morning.  Given the condition of our feeders this evening, I estimate 6-7 lbs of thistle were eaten today.  The numbers at our Barkhamsted yard feeders have averaged 175 for the past week but the flock grew again today.  I don't know the final tally, but I wouldn't be surprised if it surpassed the 300- or even 400-mark.

I did have a Hoary amongst the 150 last Wednesday (not posted due to family visiting, and, notes taken for an ARRC submission).  I took some blurry pictures of a possible Hoary last Thursday but the photos are inconclusive.  No additional evidence of one since.  However, given the increase in sheer numbers, it is possible one or more could show up.  

Interestingly, I experienced a behavior shift the past couple days in their early morning congregation (just after first light).  About a week ago, there were 2 or 3 small groups (10-20) around the yard - probably from a nearby roost - that were quiet until another flock flew over.  Then the groups would start calling and the new flock would drop in to join them - until it reached 150-200 - before they started approaching the feeders like honeybees swarming a beekeeper who disrupted their hive.  

The last couple days, the small starting flock of 20-40 flew in elliptical circles around the neighborhood and small groups joined them in flight.  They landed briefly and then flew up again into these circles.  Yesterday, this occurred for several minutes until the flock exceeded 120 (lost count).  I thought they were beginning to stage for a northward trip due to warmth, but, today proved that incorrect.  

Also in the yard this morning were Yellow-rumped Warbler and Fox Sparrow.

Barkhamsted Yard - 262+ Common Redpolls (likely more), Fox Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler

What fun!!

Sent from my iPad

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