The common redpoll is looking at a long and hungry winter, and could probably use help from the local human population.
Vísir reports that the common redpoll is facing a critical food shortage in Iceland this winter. This has led to large swaths of the birds dying off.
“This year, we recorded 6,000 redpolls in the country, which is many times the previous record,” Guðmundur Guðmundsson of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History told reporters. “This was obviously a great increase, but according to foresters there were very few birch seeds the previous winter, which is the main diet of the common redpoll. The population has probably fallen. There are actually few of them.”
If you happen to care for the little birds, whether redpolls or others, you can make a difference.
As reported, people can leave out bird seed, available in any pet store. These tiny winter birds also need fat in their diet, too, and bird expert Ellen Magnúsdóttir has recommended leaving out slices of buttered bread to help the birds in that area.
While humans leaving out piles of bird seed may not be enough by itself to sustain winter bird populations, it can go a long way to helping them.