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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. Last excerpt.  This one is from Birds of the World (yes, I bought a subscription).  In regards to other, non-plumage ID features of Hooded Merganser; 


    In hatchlings moderately yellowish brown (Nelson 1992a). In females iris brownish buff or brownish olive. In males iris similar to females in first cycle, becoming bright yellow in adults. Color can be used to sex Definitive Alternate birds in the field.

    BILL and GAPE

    In hatchlings upper mandible brownish slate; lower mandible, lamellae, tomia, and base of bill at commisure yellowish pink to light orange; nail reddish brown, pinker at tip; upper egg tooth pale dull yellow, yellowish or pinkish white; lower egg tooth yellowish white, translucent and scale-like. First-cycle and older female with upper mandible blackish green with orange edge; lower mandible muted orange or yellowish. First-cycle male with bill brownish green with orange edge, becoming darker in spring; Adult male with bill black, duskier and paling to yellowish at base in Jun-Sep.

    Based on this info, I believe both birds are immature males, with one a little farther along in it's molt.  The yellow eyes also verify them both as males--darkish eyes in males turn yellow early on, whereas female eyes are always dark.  Regarding the bill, male bills turn dark early on, while female bills never turn dark for both upper and lower mandibles.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Birds of the World is supposed to be pretty much THE definitive source.  The downside to this resource is how many words I had to look up!


    Thanks everyone for your input on this. 


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  2. I think these excerpts from different sources should add some (helpful?) information.

    From Animal Diversity Web;

    The males iris is bright yellow, while the iris of females and immature males is duller brown. (Dugger, et al., 1994)

    From Wikipedia (not my favorite source).  At least the 2nd part provides a source;

    During the nonbreeding season the male looks similar to the female, except that his eyes are yellow and the female's eyes are brown.

    First winter birds differ from adult females in appearance in that they have a grey-brown neck and upper parts; the upper parts of adult females are much darker — nearly black. Furthermore, the young birds have narrower white edges to their tertial feathers than adults do. Females of all ages are dark-eyed, whereas in males the eyes become pale during their first winter. (Vinicombe, Keith (2002). "Time for a rethink." Birdwatch 119:16-7)

    Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute does describe the bill colors between males and females, but doesn't distinguish if this is throughout life, or just in adults.

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  3. This Snow Goose was seen yesterday in NW Missouri.  Is it an adult intermediate-morph, or an immature bird?

    More importantly, is there an online (not FB) guide showing the numerous morphs, color stages of Snow Goose?  I can identify adult white and adult blue morphs, but beyond those, I'm lost. 


  4. Photographed yesterday in NW Missouri.  The adult male is easy to spot, but I'm not certain about the rest of them.  I'm pretty sure the brown-headed one on the (viewer's) far right is an immature male (based on the white spot behind it's bill). The bird immediately to the adult male's right is an adult female, yes?   The remaining generic brown birds (a pair leading), one immediately to the adult male's left, and the far one trailing, would all be immatures, correct?  And who knows about the one diving/bathing.

    In the 2nd pic, I have 3 adult males leading, and 3 adult females trailing, right?



  5. Yet another one from Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri from January 2022.  This young 'un has the features of a light morph Northern, abieticola.  But for some inexplicable reason, I can't be certain. 

    I accumulated over 1,000+ pics of this bird, from every possible angle, over several visits there.  I am absolutely positive it's always the same individual.  It looked the same, it was always found in the same area, and most importantly, was it's behavior.  Very un-Red-tail-like, it was completely oblivious to humans being nearby.  It hunted right in front of me on several occasions.  Because of that, I can provide clear images from whatever angle is necessary, to make an informed ID decision.   

    First 3 pics are from the 10th.  The next three are from the 13th. The last pic is from the 17th.








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  6. Images captured in January last year in NW Missouri.  Another one of those immature (yellow eyed) Red-tailed Hawks with a brick red tail.  I think I originally called this one an Eastern, but now have 2nd thoughts.  Because of the "blobby" underside, and light base of the tail, I'm going with a young (maybe light morph)_ Northern abieticola.  What do you guys think?

    Also, because several of my recent Red-tailed Hawks were misidentified (by me), I'm now re-thinking many of my earlier calls.  Expect a bunch of older, some maybe even seen before, pics to be posted for ID confirmation.   



  7. The attached map was borrowed from the redtailedhawkproject.org.  Although not indicated, I presume it depicts Red-tailed Hawk's breeding range.  Based on this map, my birding area in eastern Nebraska southward, put's me in the western middle of borealis territory.  But kriderii range is also within that same range.  Where I typically bird, there aren't any boreal forests or higher humidity regions, where the "darker" versions of borealis should normally be seen.  Therefore, my simplified logic dictates that, except for migration season, most, if not all the Eastern Red-tailed Hawks I encounter should all (or mostly) be Plains-type.  What do I call borealis in my area that aren't the lighter Plains-type? 


  8. 1 minute ago, Jerry Friedman said:

    Mike Borlé: As I mentioned the lack of any molt at all, and lack of a thick, dark trailing edge on the flight feathers should be enough to convince anyone that thought this bird was an adult. I'm beating a dead horse a bit here, that's for sure!

    Speaking of "for sure", I'm sure the hawk in your excellent new photos is the original one.

    Wait...are we talking about the same bird?  I though we'd settled on it being a juvenile.

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  9. It seems after a quick review of all of my Krider's hawks, using the above pale "Plains" Eastern (borealis) as a reference, it seem that many, if not most of what I thought were Krider's, have been misidentified.  I'll still post them here just to be certain.

    I do still need clarification (in simplified terms) what a "Plains" version of borealis is.  Is it a regional difference, or a plumage difference, or both.  Are all pale borealis considered "Plains-type"?  Because if that's the case, I have A LOT of them in my area.  Is Plains the only sub-subspecies of borealis, or are there others?  

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