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  • Writer's pictureaishasaidi

What are Redpolls?

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Recovering from illness on a cold winter day, I lay in bed swathed in blankets, with binoculars in hand. A commotion of newcomers had descended on the bird feeder. The flock of quick, flighty, sparrow-sized birds were quarreling over access at the feeder, even pecking each other to get to the tasty sunflower seeds. But these weren’t sparrows, they were common redpolls, an Arctic native occasionally driven south by bitter weather. The red caps on top of their heads gave them away.

The birds were starving, fighting over each dropped seed and even pursuing birds who had taken seeds to the roof of an outbuilding. I wondered how long they had gone without eating. Most of the usual neighborhood birds – chickadees, goldfinches, and tufted titmice – could not safely approach the feeder.

The cloud of swirling redpolls covered the bird feeder until all the seed was gone, and then they departed to find more food and perhaps milder weather. The next day, a single redpoll came to the feeder, looking around for her tribe. Then she, too, flew south. These small birds had survived arctic conditions, and when they could no longer do so, they migrated in search of safety. I admired their hardiness and persistence in the face of extreme conditions, knowing that as soon as they could, they would return to the Arctic to raise their young.

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1 comentário

River Jamal Lee
River Jamal Lee
20 de mar. de 2023

Life is amazingly resilient and beautiful!

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