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Monday, February 4, 2013

Common Redpolls

Dozens of Common Redpolls are eating thistle seeds at our feeders.  They swarm pushing and shoving each other for the best spaces.  Redpolls eat almost constantly to maintain a high metabolic rate and to avoid hypothermia.  They seem so thin and tiny but their insulating feathers enable them to survive our bitter winter weather.  The feathers fluff out to trap layers of warm air.

The Redpolls and the ducks are nervous eaters today; nearby crows are agitated, squawking and cawing warnings.  We wondered why until we spotted an immature bald eagle floating just above the tree tops.  Eating in our yard takes second place to avoiding becoming a meal or a snack for a predator.
Photos are copyright Carol Steel.


Gwen Buchanan said...

Sweet little birds. we have not had the redpolls here this year but yesterday a hungry hawk was keeping watch over the feeders... we have two, one in the open and one uncover of the trees.. you can probably guess where the chickadees and cardinals were hanging out.

Jane Tims said...

Hi. Our diversity at the feeders is low this year due to its new location near the front door. Glad to see the redpolls vicariously. They are my favorite bird.... Jane

Carol Steel said...

Thank you Gwen and Jane for comments. The redpolls are indeed entertaining. There are peregrine falcons and eagles in the area as well as a variety of hawks so the ducks and smaller birds are always wary.