We've had a crazy week with Redpolls here and we hardly seem to be getting anything done watching these birds. The flock size varies from 40-70+ and there just has to be some Hoarys among all those Commons, right?
First photo: I had been ruling out most with streaking like this on the side even if frosty in appearance, but I was sent an article about Commons and Hoarys and there is such variation. This same article said there will be "extensive feathering covering the bill" on many Hoarys.and this seems more extensive than what we've been seeing on the Commons.
The second photo is not real flattering for the bird I suppose. :) I have been trying to pay attention more to the undertail coverts. This has one streak, which I think hints this is Hoary.
This could all be wishful thinking on my part and maybe I am over-analyzing this. If deemed Common, I'll be ok. :)
The 3rd photo is just for interest's sake. We wonder if it is like House Finches that can be orange based on something they ate.
My head is hurting, so I need some help. Thank you.
I'd go with Common for #1 and #3; not sure about #2 it could be either.
If it's any consolation, the task is as close to impossible as any in birding - if we're to believe the genetics*, there's no difference between any of them and they may all get lumped into one species in the future ;-)
Chillybean wrote:Thanks for the reply. I think I will give up looking for any Hoarys and just enjoy the birds. Our best count today was about 60. They survived the winter storm.
Well, that would be a bummer if they join them all together. I do find it interesting this was published by the NIH. What do they have to do with bird genetics?
I'd keep searching - even if it does get lumped in the future, they're still very nice to look at (and are still a 'tick' at the moment!).
It isn't published by NIH, just indexed in their (much wider) citation system; the paper is published by Elsevier in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. If you want to read the paper, you can download it from researchgate by putting the title "Low support for separate species within the redpoll complex" into google search and clicking on researchgate's link.