Remember the five hundred redpolls that congregated at the feeders on Friday, April 1 (click here to see photos and text)? They returned on Saturday morning. I grabbed my Flip and recorded them. But John and I were talking while I filmed, so I used Flip public domain music to delete our voices. This is another lousy video but you can see that at least 200 redpolls congregated. I actually saw the cloud of them come down the mountain to the feeders and it was an exhilarating sight. They wheeled and dove in the air as they flew down.
After talking to people at the library and at church, we have decided this is the spring congregation of redpolls before they return to Canada for the summer. I can't find any information on redpoll congregation so I cannot confirm whether our conclusion is correct or not.
The Cornell Ornithology Lab writes "An abundant breeding bird of the boreal and taiga regions, the Common Redpoll is seen in North America primarily only in the winter. Even then, it generally occurs during irruptions, typically every other year." We have redpolls every winter, and I don't think that is considered an irruption. They are abundant here and every northern Vermonter, adult and child, knows about redpolls.
Cornell also says that these are Acanthis flammea. I have always thought, from my sources, that they are Carduelis flammea. You can search Cornell with the term Carduelis flammea and the results are redpolls. So now I have to find out why they have two names and which one is in current use.