[CT Birds] Redpoll event

Pamela Holden pjp.holden at comcast.net
Wed Mar 6 19:25:40 EST 2013

I had the same thoughts regarding the pine siskins.  Same situation as
yours, Paul, just replace redpolls with pine siskins as the prey.  I
couldn't believe how easy it was for our resident sharp-shinned hawk to grab
a siskin.  They were incredibly easy for the sharpie to catch, every time.

Pam Holden - Colchester

-----Original Message-----
From: CTBirds [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of
Carrier Graphics
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 6:06 PM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Redpoll event

Redpoll event -

I now get from 2 to 30 to 70 plus Redpoll a day, and this has been going on
6 weeks or more now. I have noticed them go from so trusting from my
approach and movements within the windows, to absolute panic throughout the
day now, and i think I have found out why.

Seems an Immature Sharp-shinned Hawk has zeroed in on these birds, and will
blitz them daily, with a guaranteed capture every time. I have seen this
bird attack 5 times now in the last 2 weeks, and all 5 have resulted in an
easy capture. When the Redpolls are all feeding on feeder and below on
ground, the hawks appearance makes them all take flight at the same time as
a cloud of birds not a scattering. By doing this, the hawk passes through
them with a capture every time. Once I observed the hawk take a single bird
right off the Niger feeder perch. I have a question, and here is my

I found, the Redpolls southern breeding range is to the southern tundras
The northern breeding limit of the Sharpie is to the northern limit of the
Boreal forest. This tells me they do not meet each other during the breeding
season. So to during winter migration, where the majority of Sharpies move
south well beyond the Boreal forests. So it seems these two species do not
often meet each other as prey and hunter often. This suggests to me the
Redpoll has not had much time to learn of this predators presence or habits
of hunting, and thus becomes an easy capture when they move farther south
than normal during eruptive winters such as this one.

Just one example of how one species can benefit from another's misfortune.
And I'm sure in other ways, the Sharpshinned Hawk might experiences the

Paul Carrier - Harwinton
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