Hi, everyone Ė The redpoll flock at my house has expanded to over 100.
Iíve been reading up on distinguishing Common vs. Hoary Redpolls and
now Iím WAY more confused than I used to be. Iím looking forward to
Bryanís blog post!
David Sibley's blog has lots of info that should be helpful, but itís
combined with lots of caveats. He says, "Distinguishing Common and
Hoary Redpolls is extremely challenging, as the differences are small
and subjective, and debate continues over whether the two should be
considered separate species". He also writes, "Redpoll identification
is challenging because Hoary and Common Redpoll seem to show an
unbroken continuum of variation from pale to dark, and there are no
fully reliable differences".
When I googled Common Redpoll, the images in the middle of the list
of references looked like a mixture of Common and Hoaries. To confuse
things more, the pictures of Hoaries at the Cornell Lab site and at
both look more like Commons to me.
Years ago, I saw an adult Hoary that looked like it had been recently
dipped in water and flash-frozen. It looked like the word means:
covered with a thin coat of ice, or covered with gray or white hairs.
The other characteristics weíre supposed to use to identify birds
that arenít adult and arenít in picture-perfect plumage (stubbier
bill, white undertail coverts, thinner streaking) are, as Sibley
says, ďsmall and subjectiveĒ.