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The redpoll flock is back at my feeders. I just counted 21 birds,  
with none that yell "Hoary". I thought I had figured out a surefire  
way to tell pale Common Redpolls from Hoaries by looking at bill size  
and shape - but a recent article on David Sibley's blog says that  
there's too much overlap in bill size between the two species to use  
that characteristic to distinguish them.

I guess I'm back to the rule someone suggested to me years ago: If  
you have any doubt, it's probably not a Hoary. If you gasp and say,  
"wow! That one's REALLY different, it probably is a Hoary".

Several birds in today's and yesterday's flock are noticeably bigger  
and darker than the rest, suggesting the subspecies Greater Common  
Redpoll. There's info about them at

http://www.sibleyguides.com/2008/03/redpoll-investigation-widens-to- 
include-greater/

Maeve Kim
Jericho Center