Redpolls near Keswick north of Toronto

Ron Pittaway and I visited Ravenshoe Road near Keswick, Ontario, 50 km north of Toronto on 6 January 2015 where we saw a flock of about 75 Common Redpolls feeding on weed seeds beside the road. The flock contained one Hoary Redpoll shown below.


Hoary Redpoll (subspecies exilipes) told by its short small bill and overall whiter plumage in direct comparison with similar sized Common Redpolls (flammea)


In the wind the redpolls clung to branches like tiny parrots bending over to feed on weed seeds. Every so often they burst into flight but usually returned to feed again.


Common Redpoll southern subspecies flammea showing its thick feathers fluffed by the wind. 


We checked carefully for the larger and darker Greater Common Redpoll (subspecies rostrata) but they all appeared to be the southern subspecies flammea, which breeds south to northern Ontario. We expect to see more redpolls moving from weedy fields to feeders as the winter progresses.