(Acanthis flammea). Patient Number 21-1712.
Date of admission: November 14, 2021.
Reason for admission: Caught by cat.
Common Redpolls are often known as the 'winter finches,' nesting in the Arctic and frequently populating areas in southern Canada and the northern states. They are tan and white birds with dark brown and black striped sides. Both sexes will display a small red patch on their forehead and a yellow bill, however, the males will show a pale red vest on the chest. They can weigh approximately 10-20g and have a wingspan of 7-8inches.
Redpolls travel in flocks of up to several hundred individuals. They move frenetically, foraging on seeds in weedy fields or in small trees. Redpolls are tiny, energetic, and restless birds that are constantly on the move. They can be fairly common in northern habitats ranging from willow flats to open conifer forests, thickets, and tundra scrub. They have a remarkable ability to withstand the cold but do often migrate south when resources are scarce. This is also why they are a frequent visitor of Canadian backyard bird feeders, especially during the winter.
Their diet mostly consists of insects, seeds, and other vegetable matter. In the winter they feed rapidly out in the open, filling their throat pouches, and then they digest their food in a sheltered area.
Courtship is instigated mostly by the female, and a nest is constructed in very well hidden in dense low shrubs, often a few feet of the ground. Females are the primary incubator, though the male will feed her during this process. After hatching the female will continue to single-parent her young until they are fully fledged at 12 days.
This common redpoll joined us recently after being caught by an outdoor cat. He is currently suffering from a left-wing injury and so will be staying with us for a little longer until he is fully recovered and able to fly again!
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