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This young female Sharp-shinned Hawk prowled the bird feeders earlier this week. I didn’t see it catch anything but I have noticed that the quail numbers are dwindling. I think there were eight last month. Then there were five. Today I only saw three. Everybody’s got to eat.

Common Redpolls are an uncommon species¬†in our area. If they do arrive here, it’s in the coldest part of the winter and they are attracted to our feeders. Some years I don’t see them at all. Last year was one of those years. This winter there is quite a flock of them coming daily to munch on black oil sunflower seeds and niger seeds. I’ve also seen them eating privet berries. They now outnumber our more commonly observed American Goldfinches, House Finches and Pine Siskins. They seem like jaunty little birds with their red crowns and the males’ pink breast.

According to Bird Webthey are arctic and sub-arctic breeders and in the winter they inhabit various kinds of semi-open country, including woodland edges and brushy or weedy fields.” Also, “they have pouches in their throats that allow them to gather large amounts of food quickly, and then retreat to a safe place to process the food. In winter, they will drop from a tree into deep snow and make a tunnel about a foot long to a roosting chamber.” I would love to find their tunnels!

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