Tag Archives: redpoll


DSC_2027A northern hawk owl perched atop a dead, black spruce overlooking its preferred hunting grounds, an Alaskan muskeg wetland.

The northern hawk owl is named after its hawk-like hunting behavior.  Like hawks, the hawk owl hunts by day using its keen eyesight to spot small birds and mammals.  The red-backed vole is by far the most important prey species. But the hawk owl is an opportunist and other species of voles and several species of shrews are also caught. During those years when snowshoe hares are plentiful, hawk owls will add these much larger prey species to their list, as will many species of birds from the tiny, common red-poll to birds up to the size of ptarmigan. Continue reading


649-14-100On my last post I laid out a way to get close-up photographs of the very small and beautiful common redpoll.  By setting up a feeding station early in the season you can get redpolls to come to you.

Attention to a few photographic details can help you to get professional results.  First, you’re choice of a location is very important.  Some locations are more photogenic than others, obviously.  Avoid situations that are complex.  For example if your location is too thick with brush and vegetation then there will always be something in the way, branches, twigs, between you and your subject.  Often, it is these kinds of distractions that can ruin an otherwise nice photo. Continue reading


649-14-21What a joy it is to observe common redpolls every day all winter long.  When the bottom drops out of the thermometer they go about their cheerful, lively routine seemingly without regard to Interior Alaska’s dangerous temperatures.  Redpolls are active from first light until sunset.  Even at fifty below you will find them busy, usually in small groups feeding among bushes. But where they spend the nights is a mystery to me. They have been reported to spend some nights in snow burrows, like ptarmigan. Continue reading