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Re: bcintbird-pics grosbeak identification M Lancaster Sat Feb 18 22:00:37 2012

Alistair, I am merely offering an opinion. I am not familiar with Pine 
Grosbeaks, I could be behind the 8 ball.!! You did make it clear about the 
'oddball', I just forgot whilst concentrating on one issue - an increasing 
trend with which I am sure you are familiar. 

You could be correct in that they are an interior subspecies - I am awaiting a 
pronouncement via Pyle from Rick :-)

IOC lists the following subspecies: 
      enucleator (Linnaeus, 1758) 
      kamtschatkensis (Dybowski, 1883) 
      sakhalinensis Buturlin, 1915 
      alascensis Ridgway, 1898 
      flammula Homeyer, 1880 
      carlottae Brooks, AC, 1922 
      montana Ridgway, 1898 
      californica Price, 1897 
      leucura (Statius Müller, 1776) 
      eschatosa Oberholser, 1914 


No montanus but note carlottae - Alan Brooks

Barry
M B Lancaster,
Currently - Tenerife, Islas Canarias
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Alistair Fraser 
  To: [EMAIL PROTECTED] 
  Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2012 7:26 PM
  Subject: Re: bcintbird-pics grosbeak identification


  Barry,


  Once again, I learn. Young males can look like females; old females can look 
somewhat like males.


  As I proceed to ponder what you have told me in greater detail, I have only 
one thing to add: pictures two and three are of the same bird (sorry if I 
didn't make that clear). I took many pictures of it (others were deeper in the 
brush and hard to focus upon). I tried to send ones of this bird where one 
could see such things as the breast and rump. 


  I note that no one (Ferne, Rick, Barry) is partial to my Interior Western 
subspecies conjectures.


  Alistair




  On 2012-02-18, at 11:06 AM, M Lancaster wrote:


    OK folks I am going to throw a curve ball, or in cricketing parlance 'an 
away swinger' (my speciality).

    Firstly, whenever one sees birds with red feathers, one has to consider 
that they are only that colour because of the effect of diet - certainly in 
cardueline finches. Consequently, we can get feathers coloured yellow to red 
and all shades in between.

    Secondly, second year males have a similar appearance to adult females 
except (according to Birds of North America) somewhat deeper colouration and 
may be 'reddish bronze'.

    Thirdly, I see no reason why adult OLD females should not develop a more 
intense colouration than either second year males or young females and become 
red(dish?). I note that one of the 'redheads' has 'golden feathers at the nape 
and on the breast and the other has golden feathers on the breast. And 
actually, the adult male has some golden feathers on the rump.

    Fourthly, second year birds should show evidence of juvenile feathers as 
the first basic ( actually formative) is partial and neither remiges nor 
rectrices are not moulted and ESPECIALLY there should be a limit in the greater 
coverts ( only 3% moult all GCs). To me primaries and tail feathers look 
perfect - almost; that is I see no signs of wear commensurate with a bird that 
hatched last year.

    Finally, the lores on the adult male are black and the 'under eyering' for 
want of a better word is pink. In all the other birds the lores are grey as is 
the eyering - which they may well be in second year males.

    So, unless both the birds with only red heads, have moulted all their 
coverts and almost certainly primaries and tail feathers they could be old 
adult females - maybe!!! See for example 
http://www.alaskaphotographyblog.com/2012/02/female-pine-grosbeak/ where this 
female has definite red feathers on the breast and reddish on the head.

    And now the inswinger, used only occasionally but always deadly; Pyle may 
have something to say on the subject - Rick?

    Unfortunately, neither volume of Pyle is available as a CD or an app.




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