January 18, 2011

Common redpoll

Built stocky and warm like a French Canadian, always ready to broom off the pond and pull out the homemade nets for a hockey game on a subzero Sunday. The Common redpoll  is a northern finch of the truest sense. Populating the subarctic from Saskatchewan to the Faroe Islands, Finland to the Yakutia province they descend from the taiga lowlands and boreal forest to fatten up at feeders across New England. Not true migrants, Common Redpolls appear in New England in years when pine cone and seed crops are low in their native lands.  This  southern drift is known as an irruption and occurs in two to ten year cycles in conjunction with tree seed production. Watch for these red capped Laplanders, the stuff of Reindeer and snow caves eating up thistle in backyards from Quincy to Princeton.

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: alexanderjosephdunn@gmail.com

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