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Common Redpoll

Nothing common about this sprightly bird!

The tiny Common Redpoll, one of the smallest members of the finch family, weighs only as much as four pennies, yet it survives the cold and darkness of winter in the far North. Most birds depart in autumn to warmer climes. But redpolls feed on birch and alder seeds that are available throughout the winter, no matter how deep the snow. This little bird typically eats 40% of its body weight in seeds every day to keep itself alive. Redpolls are survivors. Be sure to check out the video!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Common Redpoll, Winter Survivor

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote!

[Common Redpoll chatter]

The tiny Common Redpoll, one of the smallest members of the finch family, weighs only as much as four pennies, yet it survives the cold and darkness of winter in the far North. Most birds depart in autumn to warmer climes. But redpolls feed on birch and alder seeds that are available throughout the winter, no matter how deep the snow. They do it in the cleverest of ways through a series of precise adaptations.

[Common Redpoll calls]

Redpolls are acrobats, feeding with ease on the smallest of branches, even hanging upside down to extract seeds from birch catkins. They may shake a catkin vigorously, then drop to the snow to pick up the fallen seeds in a more sheltered spot. This little bird typically eats 40% of its body weight in seeds every day to keep itself alive.

[Common Redpoll calls]

The redpoll’s expanded esophagus allows it to store large numbers of seeds during rapid feeding. The bird then retires to a dense conifer and while sheltered from the freezing winds, brings up the seeds one by one, cracking their shells and swallowing the nutritious kernels. In a land of extreme winter conditions, redpolls are survivors.

[Common Redpoll calls]

Get a good look at this tiny acrobat on our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann.

###
Call of the Common Redpoll [132155] provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G. Vyn.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org     November 2018     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# 112007COREKPLU    CORE-01b

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