The photo of this Common Redpoll was already taken January 25, 2015. It is the 73rd bird species we encountered here on the bluffs above the Little Maquoketa River Valley over the last ten years. Well, why did I show this picture, taken on our balcony, so late? At the time of shooting I realized that this finch-like bird looks a little different and so I marked it “under investigation” in my photo library. It wasn’t until last night, when I saw the same bird in an Iowa birder’s photo gallery, that I realized that I had my first “1st encounter” in 2015. The Common Redpoll breeds way up north in Canada and most bird guides show the southern line for its winter range just below central Minnesota. But the same field guides also tell that the redpoll has been seen as far south as Oklahoma during the winter. So it is not really a surprise. However, the Common Redpoll is usually seen in larger flocks but this one was here just on its own. As I have written before here in the blog (or in my old one at, I use the iBirdPRO app as one of the sources for reference and learning about birds. For the redpoll it says: During the long Arctic night, redpolls sleep in snow tunnels to preserve body heat. If this isn’t a cool fact about survival in the great outdoors, I don’t know what is… ;-)

Of course, this photo made it into my new BIRD GALLERY - NORTH AMERICA. You can find it at the top of the page. by clicking on the COLLECTIONS tab. Thank you for visiting!