Redpolls Hittin' The Twin Cities Metro Area

While I was in Florida, common redpolls were being reported in the Twin Cities metro area. Last winter they were showing up in good numbers up at Sax Zim Bog and Mr. Neil even had one at his feeders.

There have been a few hanging out at Carpenter Nature Center. When we were trying to band birds last Friday, we saw a flock of about nine birds. We were almost completely skunked, we only trapped one lone junco and it was a retrap. We would see a redpoll fly into the traps, but one was too light to trip the door closed, so we got completely nooged on banding any redpolls.

I just love the little redpoll goatee--combined with the little red spot on the head that resembles a beret, they look like their about to break out a set of bongos in a 1960's looking coffee shop at any moment. I went back to check what the Winter Finch Forecast had been for redpolls:

The Common Redpoll is a white birch seed specialist in the boreal forest in winter. White birch crops are poor in the northern two-thirds of the boreal forest, but seed abundance increases southward. In central Ontario, such as Algonquin Park, crops on white and yellow birches range from fair to good. It is uncertain whether the birch crop is large enough to stop the southward movement in central Ontario about latitude 45 degrees. Some redpolls, including a few Hoarys, may get south to Lake Ontario if birch seed supplies run low."

I guess the birch seed supply ran low.

We even got to see some redpolls at Warner Nature Center during Non Birding Bill's Winter Survival Birthday party. His non birding friends also found them cool when pointed out. What was interesting was that unlike all the common redpolls in the photos of this blog entry (which were all taken at Carpenter Nature Center), the redpolls at Warner stayed below the feeders. They only ate on the ground. I wondered if that flock had come from such a remote region that they did not know how to use a bird feeder.

After our time banding was over, I headed to a nearby spot where the St. Croix River meets with the Mississippi River. It has been a bit warmer and the water usually opens up when that happens. You can sometimes see some fun ducks. As I scanned, I only saw some bald eagles jockeying for position for some food on the ice. Suddenly, some friends drove up behind me, shouting. I had them reenact what they did:

Thanks to Jed and Linda who were the great to reference the blog post about my amusement of people who point out eagles when I'm after some small bird that does not seem as exciting. But I did actually look out and the eagles were doing something kind of interesting:

They were eating a Canada goose. There, are you happy? I took a photo of a bald eagle. lol

I joined Jed and Linda a little further down the Mississippi River to search for waterfowl and we found some coyotes on patrol across the river. There was a third, but it was further back in the woods. We got to watch the two above poop and since they were in the boundaries of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, I guess we know who pooped in this park.