My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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A Hoary?

Published February 07, 2013
Tags: My Feeders, Hoary Redpoll

As I walked past my kitchen window this morning, I saw a bird at the feeders that made me stop right in my tracks.  I studied it for awhile, realized it was a redpoll, but it just didn't appear the same as the others who have been coming by for the last couple of months.  Could it be a Hoary?!

It was obviously a female, larger than the other redpolls, pale in front and definitely lighter on her back between the wings.  I grabbed the camera and just about filled up the memory card with pictures of her.  I've been poring over the photos in my guides and online references - but I just can't be sure if she was a Hoary. I'm hoping someone else can give a positive ID.

The bird seemed ravenous.  She started at the feeder filled with the WBU special blend, hopped down to the deck floor, up to the thistle sock, walked and picked at the seeds along the deck railing, then back to the deck floor.  As I watched, all the while, she closed her eyes frequently.  I'm not sure, but I wonder if she was tuckered out from a long flight. One can only surmise what these little travelers encounter on their way down from the arctic. And I hope her stop at our feeders was just what her depleted energy reserves needed!
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Could this be a Hoary Redpoll?
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A good look at her back
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Another good back shot
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Her eyes were closed almost half the time
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Her bill doesn't seem smushed-in, does it?
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I think the undertail should be lighter for a Hoary?
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And the rump should be pure white?