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One of the "winter finches," nesting in the Arctic and sometimes invading southern Canada and the northern states. Redpolls are tiny, restless birds, feeding actively on seeds among trees and weeds, fluttering and climbing about acrobatically, their flocks seemingly always on the move. For their small size, they have a remarkable ability to survive cold temperatures; their southward flights are sparked by temporary scarcity of food in the North, not by cold. At bird feeders in winter, redpolls are often remarkably tame.
It is generally a relatively small, streaked finch with a small, pointed bill; short, deeply notched tail; 2 white wing bars; black chin; red cap; and varying amounts of red underneath. Breeding male: the cap is bright red. The upperparts are brown with distinct streaking. The bright rosy red of the throat and breast extends onto the cheeks. The white flanks and undertail coverts have fine black streaking; the paler rump has distinctive streaking.
It gets its name from the characteristic red call or 'poll' !