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von Humboldt

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Everything posted by von Humboldt

  1. It may be that other Cardinals are also using the feeder at a particular time of day, but you do not realize it because they are not distinctive looking. Birds tend to be creatures of habit when they have safe habitat and a food source. Mites are fairly common in Cardinals and their head is apparently a vulnerable area as I've seen several that were nearly bald during my life. If it continues to regularly come to your feeder you'll probably notice that the feathers grow in over the next several months even if it's not the time of year for a molt..
  2. I agree with Pharlarope - those wings just don't look like they belong to a dove.
  3. The eyeline is very long and the tail coverts too black for it to be pure Mottled Duck. It has to have some Mallard genes in its ancestry. I don't know if the white spot on its chest is feather, trash, or artifact. If it is white feathers there might be some domestic Mallard genes.
  4. I doubt that male Cardinal was molting. Cardinals are notorious for having mites and losing patches of feathers, usually around the head. They're definitely pretty ugly and can remain bald for weeks. As I am sure Tony's articles point out, molting is a replacement of feathers. It is not losing the feathers so there are bald spots and then having other feathers grow back in. The above picture of the goldfinch shows the classic appearance of molting – where you can see both types of plumage with patchy areas of the old and new plumage. ETA: some female birds do get a bald spot called a brood patch during incubation for egg warming, but I don't think its relevant here
  5. As could be expected, Tony Leukering is exactly right. A gape spot is clearly visible in these photos and the better coloring shows the tail is not as white as I thought.
  6. Tony Leukering knows more about Mottled Ducks and their crosses with Mallards than anyone in the country, so if he says it is a Mottled Duck then it's a Mottled Duck. But being argumentative and curious I must ask, shouldn't we be able to see some indication of a gape spot even with the severe overexposure.
  7. I believe that is a male Mallard X Mottled hybrid (with probably more Mottled duck than Mallard). The tail has Mallard characteristics, and the head and chest look like a Mottled Duck. The bill shows no black which would be highly unusual for a female Mallard.
  8. In the early 2000s I saw a very leucistic Red Tailed hawk for around five years on my farm. I only knew it was a red tail hawk for sure because of its mate. At that time I did some research on leucistic birds and read that, although still very rare, Robins and red tailed hawks exhibit leucism more often than other birds. I've seen thousands of robins in my 60+ years but have never seen a leucistic one in person.
  9. Fish crows are slightly smaller and slightly more iridescent. I've never been able to tell the difference in person unless hearing them or standing right next to each other. I doubt this picture can be positively ID'ed
  10. Not looking at the bill, I see nothing in the bird that indicates hybrid. One could argue the cheeks and other parts of the head are a little too buffy and reddish but I believe if this had a normal yellow bill no one would give it a second thought and classify it as an eclipse male or if it had an orange and black bill as a female with estrogen issues. To my knowledge, estrogen deficiencies (intersex) do not cause any alteration in bill color. Every female I have seen with male plumage still has the classic orange bill with black splotch on the top. I don't see anything in the shape or size of the bill that is inconsistent with a Mallard. I wonder if that is actually black on the left side of the bill or just a shadow. It looks a lot like the bill on a female Black duck. I think the bill is more drab than a true gray like a Redhead. So, my guess is eclipse male Mallard with the bill color caused by mutation or very distant Black duck genes.
  11. The goose in the foreground that's grayish with a dark bill is indeed an immature snow goose.
  12. All are mallards. The ones with yellow bills are males in eclipse plumage which may be what has you thinking black duck hybrid.
  13. Thanks for the information. Grebes and other birds (and I believe some sea ducks) do have bill color change in the breeding season. Also, I was aware dabbling ducks bills can be somewhat paler when not in full breeding plumage. I guess with respect to the Gadwall, they are not in my area except mid-November until March and I was not aware the males bill was ever anything but solid black. Thanks for informing me and I will do some research in this area.
  14. While it does not seem wise to argue with Sibley, being a retired attorney I will do so or at least ask for further information. First, once a Gadwall matures his bill is black and will remain so for the rest of his life. (A male gadwall's plumage will be slightly more vibrant in an older duck and their breeding plumage doesn't peek until February whereas other dabblers are generally in full breeding plumage by January 1, but I do not believe this is relevant to the present question.) If anyone can point me to a respected source that says a dabbling duck's bill color changes color after maturity please do so as this would be enlightening information to me. Second, what is meant by "non-breeding adult male?" To me this would be eclipse plumage which would not affect the bill color. I believe that all male dabbling ducks mature in their first year and retain their "colorful" plumage until after breeding season and at least attempt to mate. So, unless those two gadwalls were born this year they must be female. I enjoy learning so I sincerely welcome anyone who can point out any inaccuracies in the above statement.
  15. Based on the shortness of the bill and appearance of the face, I believe its a juvenile domestic. Sounds like maybe the whole brood dined at that restaurant.
  16. Bill color indicates these are both female even if in eclipse plumage.
  17. 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
  18. I believe the color (which appears to be rusty) is due to ferrous staining attributable to the water where it's been feeding.
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