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Lesser redpoll

The Lesser redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) is a tiny passerine bird from the finch family (fringillidae). Its upperparts are a warmish brown with darker streaks, wing bars are a buff colour, dark streaks on the whitish flanks and a dark brown forked tail. However, their most striking feature is their red foreheads (from which the common name ‘red-poll’ is derived).

UK breeding populations of the Lesser redpoll have declined and they are currently a 'red-listed' species of high conservation concern; however, according to the BTO Garden Bird Watch survey, there has been a fifteen-fold increase in the use of gardens by Lesser redpolls during early spring over the past five years. It is hoped, therefore, that garden bird feeders might help to support their recovery.

Many Lesser redpolls migrate further south for the winter season, but the mild climate means that it can be found all year round throughout the UK. Winter, however, can be the easiest time to see Lesser redpolls, especially after the trees have lost their leaves.

The Lesser redpoll can traditionally be found in woodlands but also visit gardens and merrily feed among the branches of trees and shrubs where they can often be seen hanging/feeding upside down. They feed on small seeds such as alders, spruce and birch and - common with many other birds - feed on insects during the breeding season to supplement their seed diet with protein and moisture.

Niger seed is popular with Lesser redpolls and provides them with energy plus its unique tonic properties are renowned within the bird-keeping world.

Haith's have been supplying Niger Seed since the 1930s and were one of the first companies to pioneer feeding it to wild birds. It's worshipped by Goldfinches and Siskins and probably responsible (along with Sunflower Hearts) for helping increase the population of Goldfinches in the UK.

It's a fine, free-flowing, oil-rich seed which needs to be fed from a special Niger seed feeder to get the maximum value from it. It takes a little while for the birds to figure out where to extract the seed - as Niger feeders have slits in the tube rather than traditional feeding ports; however, find it they do.

If Lesser redpolls turn up in your garden, you might not notice them at first as they are rather inconspicuous in appearance. And that's the same for many species of birds who easily blend in with foliage or more common garden birds and that's why we encourage you to take a closer look at what's on your bird table as - you never know - you could discover this attractive garden visitor or something even rarer.

Here's another good tactic, listen to the birds - you never know, you might hear the Lesser redpoll’s low-pitched call, it's a rattling series of notes: “chuch-uch-uch-errrr”.

So, keep watching and keep listening.

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The Lesser redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) is a tiny passerine bird from the finch family (fringillidae). Its upperparts are a warmish brown with darker streaks, wing bars are a buff colour, dark streaks on the whitish flanks and a dark brown forked tail. However, their most striking feature is their red foreheads (from which the common name ‘red-poll’ is derived).

UK breeding populations of the Lesser redpoll have declined and they are currently a 'red-listed' species of high conservation concern; however, according to the BTO Garden Bird Watch survey, there has been a fifteen-fold increase in the use of gardens by Lesser redpolls during early spring over the past five years. It is hoped, therefore, that garden bird feeders might help to support their recovery.

Many Lesser redpolls migrate further south for the winter season, but the mild climate means that it can be found all year round throughout the UK. Winter, however, can be the easiest time to see Lesser redpolls, especially after the trees have lost their leaves.

The Lesser redpoll can traditionally be found in woodlands but also visit gardens and merrily feed among the branches of trees and shrubs where they can often be seen hanging/feeding upside down. They feed on small seeds such as alders, spruce and birch and - common with many other birds - feed on insects during the breeding season to supplement their seed diet with protein and moisture.

Niger seed is popular with Lesser redpolls and provides them with energy plus its unique tonic properties are renowned within the bird-keeping world.

Haith's have been supplying Niger Seed since the 1930s and were one of the first companies to pioneer feeding it to wild birds. It's worshipped by Goldfinches and Siskins and probably responsible (along with Sunflower Hearts) for helping increase the population of Goldfinches in the UK.

It's a fine, free-flowing, oil-rich seed which needs to be fed from a special Niger seed feeder to get the maximum value from it. It takes a little while for the birds to figure out where to extract the seed - as Niger feeders have slits in the tube rather than traditional feeding ports; however, find it they do.

If Lesser redpolls turn up in your garden, you might not notice them at first as they are rather inconspicuous in appearance. And that's the same for many species of birds who easily blend in with foliage or more common garden birds and that's why we encourage you to take a closer look at what's on your bird table as - you never know - you could discover this attractive garden visitor or something even rarer.

Here's another good tactic, listen to the birds - you never know, you might hear the Lesser redpoll’s low-pitched call, it's a rattling series of notes: “chuch-uch-uch-errrr”.

So, keep watching and keep listening.