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von Humboldt

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  1. Here's a link to a great article by Tony Leukering. Differences in appearance begins on page 9. https://ebird.org/content/ebird/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/eBird_Muddled_Ducks.pdf
  2. I believe the color (which appears to be rusty) is due to ferrous staining attributable to the water where it's been feeding.
  3. While Fish Crows are a little smaller than American Crows, it is very unlikely you could tell the difference by size unless they were perched right next to each other. You would clearly recognize their call as being different. Crows mate for life and last year's brood helps raise this year's. I found it unusual that you did not see any other crows around the nest helping out, but that could be explained by these being young birds or something happened to last year's brood. I surely don't have the expertise in picture identification that many posters on this board possess, but relying on your statements (especially your recent post) I highly doubt the nesters are crows. I'm the one who first mentioned Golden Eagle as a possibility but at that time I did not realize they were migratory birds. While I would agree that that would make it extremely unlikely they are nesting in central Mississippi, they were definitely not unusual to be seen (at least in fall and winter) along the Pearl River in south central Mississippi in the 1970s. They are HUGE, HUGE, HUGE. Do bald eagles nest before getting their adult plumage? I don't think so but someone correct me if I'm wrong. Bald Eagle nesting in Mississippi is relatively common especially Sardis Lake and the other large reservoirs. I believe you need to contact Nick Winstead or the poster who suggested him to have them observe the bird.
  4. I didn't mean to imply that was a positive ID of Golden Eagle. The nest, site, and silhouette are compatible with the golden eagle. Being from central Mississippi I assume you know the size of a crow and this bird, in your opinion, is much larger than that – huge size is very apparent when seeing an eagle. The only other large black birds in the area are vultures and they nest on the ground. So, I'm assuming the very dark color is caused by the distance and the lighting. I didn't realize they didn't nest in central Mississippi but I know I use to occasionally see them there back in the 60s and 70s at my grandparents farm. If you have seen the bird well enough to eliminate a red tail or other large Hawk, my best guess would be Golden Eagle.
  5. Nesting site, silhouette,and your size description indicate golden eagle
  6. After further review, I believe birdbrain22 is correct – it's a Green wing X Blue wing. I didn't realize the slender white crescent would cause so much white on a cross with a Green wing but apparently it does. Numerous pictures on the Internet purporting to be such a hybrid show that amount of white brushed with a little bit of auburn just like the duck in the original post.
  7. Very interesting. I'd say male hybrid Green winged teal and maybe wood duck
  8. I believe it is a female Hooded Merganser. The head shape, white belly plus the habitat is compatible.
  9. Male – looks good for a Mexican/Mallard intergrade. I believe I do see the curled tail feathers but I'm not sure what it would mean if there were not any. Mallardine intergrades would generally show curled tail feathers when there is that much Mallard plumage. I don't see anything to indicate domestic and the plumage is what you would expect from an intergrade. Female – a Mexican duck usually has a more solid dull olive green bill. This one seems to have a pretty classic female Mallard orange with black splotches. Of course, the bill of an integrade could be anywhere in between. Since the plumage of the females is so similar, based on bill color I would call this a female Mallard but it surely could have some Mexican ancestry.
  10. Even a 1st year male would have normal male plumage this time of year (the tail might not be quite as long) so its a female not subadult male.
  11. I agree that the male looks good for a Mallard X Mottled. However, with the location and apparent setting it could be domestic rather than Mottled. Other than the bill (due to lack of orange), the female looks like a typical Mallard. The eye line goes too far back and the overall coloring is too beige for it to be a Mottled. The female Western Gulf Coast subspecies of Mottled has a bill that is virtually indistinguishable from that of a Mallard. However, the Florida subspecies ranges from the orange and black appearance of the typical Mallard to having a dull olive color base with black. This would be an unusual color bill for female Mallard but within the possible spectrum. Therefore I would say the female may be full Mallard but probably has some Mottled duck in her ancestry. This forum's own Tony Leukering has a fantastic article on the Florida hybrids. https://ebird.org/content/ebird/wp-content/uploads/sites/55/eBird_Muddled_Ducks.pdf
  12. Initially, let me say anytime you see an odd mallardine in a suburban setting it is most likely due to domestic ancestry. However, I think we must consider the possibility that this is a Mallard x American Black Duck hybrid. The bill definitely looks like it could belong to a female AMBD. Also, the head coloring and streaking, as well as the overall coloring is acceptable for AMBD. The body feathers especially look like an AMBD. They are beige only on the fringes and darker brown in the middle. A Mallard would show a lot of beige in the middle of each feather. The only two things that are not like a female AMBD is the white that can be seen on the tail and the location. AMBDs should not be in California much less suburban LA. This could be explained by having some Mallard ancestry – I believe a hybrid can take up the migration route of either parent. It's probably a domestic of some sort but if this photo were taken in the East in an wild area I would say it's a Mallard x AMBD hybrid with probably more AMBD.
  13. I have just moved to the West and I'm not familiar with the lesser goldfinches just the American goldfinch. I have examined some ID sources for lesser goldfinches and it appears their wings are not as dark and there is more of a yellowish hue to their plumage even in winter. Corrections or other identifying marks will be appreciated.
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