lesser redpoll



lesser redpoll defined in 1930 year

lesser redpoll - Lesser Redpoll;
lesser redpoll - Forehead, lore, and throat black; crown deep crimson; upper parts reddish brown with dusky streaks; wings and tail dusky edged with pale reddish brown; breast glossy rose-red, passing into light chestnut-brown on the sides; belly and lower tail-coverts dull white. Female: less bright. Length, five and a quarter inches.

The redpoll, or redpole, as it is often written, is a pretty and interesting little bird of the northern parts of Great Britain. It has been described by Seebohm as an immature linnet in appearance, but resembling a siskin in its habits. It is usually called the lesser redpoll, because it is slightly less in size than the continental redpoll, which sometimes visits this country in winter. This last subspecies is the mealy redpoll (Linota linaria). A third form of this wide-ranging little bird, the Greenland redpoll (Linota hornemanni), has been included in the list of British birds on account of a single specimen having been obtained in this country.

In its lively disposition, its flight, and to some extent in its language, the redpoll resembles the linnet; but its feeding habits vary according to the season of the year and the conditions it finds itself in. In summer it keeps much to the higher branches of the trees, where it moves deftly about like a siskin or a crested tit in its search after minute insects and their larvae; but in winter it feeds principally on seeds which it finds on the ground. It is fond of the seeds of the birch-tree. The appearance of a flock of redpolls feeding among the birches is thus described by Warde Fowler: ' It is one of the prettiest sights that our whole calendar of bird life affords to watch these tiny linnets at work in the delicate birch-boughs. They fear no human being, and can be approached within a very few yards. They almost outdo the titmice in the amazing variety of their postures. They prefer in a general way to be upside down, and decidedly object to the commonplace attitudes of more solidly built birds.'

The song of the redpoll is described by Seebohm as a short, monotonous trill, clear, shrill, and not unmusical; and he adds that it might be said to resemble the rattling of loose cog-wheels.' It breeds in suitable localities, chiefly in birch-woods in Scotland, and in England north of Norfolk and Leicester. It also breeds occasionally in more southern localities. The nest is made of dry grass and moss on a foundation of slender twigs, and is well lined with vegetable down, or with wool and feathers. It is a very neat, cup-shaped nest, and contains four to six eggs, greenish blue in ground-colour, with spots and specks of purplish brown.

After the breeding season the redpolls begin to scatter about the country in small flocks; as autumn approaches these flocks increase in size, and a southward movement begins, large numbers crossing the Channel. Many, however, remain to winter at home, and these may be met with in woods and plantations, leading a vagrant life in small flocks, and often associating on the trees with titmice, gold- crests, and siskins.

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