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The Common Redpoll Is A Cute Little Bird All Puffed Up To Stay Warm

Amy Pilkington 24 Jul 2020

Tropical birds get a lot of love, so let's take a moment to appreciate some who prefer chillier climates — and I'm talking Arctic chill.

While the Common redpoll may not be as vibrantly-colored as its cousins south of the equator, that doesn't mean they are any less worthy of being featured in their own spotlight.

And anyway, it's their brown and beige canvas that makes their red highlights stand out all the more.

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Their regular breeding ground is way up in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, though throughout the year they are common throughout the state and northern territories.

They can also be spotted pretty regularly in northern parts of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Their diet consists mostly of seeds found among the thickets and brush of the northern tundra.

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It's only when food starts to become scarce that they might migrate toward southern Canada and parts of the northern United States.

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The cold Arctic climate doesn't bother them at all.

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Though small, they puff up their feathers to trap air for insulation, and unlike most bird species, the redpoll has a pouch in their throat to store food for later.

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That means that on particularly frigid or windy days, they can spend less time in the open.

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The food kept in the pouch can stay safe for several hours, so they can quickly stuff themselves with seeds before finding a sheltered place to rest with enough food to last through the storm.

h/t: Audubon

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