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Tony Leukering

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Everything posted by Tony Leukering

  1. I'm just curious. If you weren't sure of the ID, what other species are/were you considering?
  2. Definitely a result of hybridization between one of the white geese and one of the white-cheeked geese species. Note the dark legs, which should rule out pure individuals of either white goose species in February. In Colorado, Snow x Cackling is more frequent than is Snow x Canada, which makes sense from a breeding perspective. That is because geese pair on breeding grounds (unlike ducks) and Cackling Goose is a tundra breeder like the two white goose species and unlike Canada Goose. Unfortunately, Lesser Canada Goose has been found to be hybridizing with, apparently, both Richardson's and Taverner's Cackling Geese, making things more problematic. Your bird's head seems large-ish and the neck long-ish, but that could be imparted by either a Snow Goose parent or a Canada Goose parent. Without a firm indication of size that would be provided by photos of the bird including some other species of goose, I am hesitant to put a name to the beast, other than eBird's "Snow/Ross's x Cackling/Canada Goose (hybrid)" category.
  3. No, it is a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk. https://cobirds.org/CFO/ColoradoBirds/InTheScope/87.pdf
  4. On a semantic note, a single individual is not a subspecies... or species. Unless doomed to extinction. At least in birds. in certain whiptails and many, many taxa of the "lower" classes of organisms, a single individual might recover the taxon.
  5. Perhaps these cropped and lightened images will help.
  6. Subspecific ID of Red-tailed Hawks (RTHA) is a very thorny issue. Before man's extensive and extreme impact on habitat in North America, subspecies of RTHA probably meant more than they do now. However, with us providing literally millions of acres of new suitable RTHA habitat, those disjunct subspecies have been brought into contact, thus decreasing the differentiation among them. Colorado has one primary breeding subspecies -- calurus -- Western RTHA. Prior to the coming of white man, Colorado's eastern plains had very few trees, and RTHAs need trees. With the alteration in river flows (due to water management) of Colorado's two main eastern rivers -- the South Platte and the Arkansas, both rivers developed a cottonwood gallery forest, which enabled borealis -- Eastern RTHA -- (and a host of other eastern species and subspecies that were formerly absent from the state) to colonize eastern Colorado. It also enabled Western RTHA to colonize the plains from the foothill edge, thus bringing the formerly disjunct (as far as CO is concerned) subspecies into contact. The resultant gene flow in both directions now means that many, if not most, resident RTHAs in eastern Colorado are mutts. There is still an obvious influx of Eastern-type RTHAs into eastern Colorado in fall/winter, but these birds don't breed there, so winter is the time of year that RTHAs with the appearance of Easterns and seeming to lack Western features are more likely. In my experience at latitudes similar to those of Colorado from Colorado through Ohio to New Jersey, adult Eastern RTHAs generally sport little in the way of belly bands, while those in areas farther north (my experience is mostly from Michigan) are much more heavily marked. Light-morph Western RTHAs exhibit large and dark belly bands. While your bird has the pale throat typical of Eastern and "wrong" for Western, your bird is a juvenile (note distinctly yellow eye) and juveniles are a crap shoot, plumage-wise. The throat is more heavily marked than is typical of juvenile Eastern RTHA, as are the upper sides. Whether that's within the range of variation for Eastern RTHA or not, who knows. Personally, I'd call this a RTHA and leave it at that.
  7. Arkansas is within the range of nominate lineatus and nowhere near the range of any other subspecies, all others of which are non-migratory or only slightly migratory. Red-shouldered Hawks frequently range into open country, where they are subject to harassment by local Red-taileds. From the species' BNA account (https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/reshaw/distribution; access requires subscription): Habitat in the Overwintering Range Lowland areas near water, e.g., swamps, marshes, and river valleys (Palmer 1988). Individuals frequent open habitat much more than during breeding season, even if they do not migrate (Bent 1937b, J. Jacobs pers. comm.). During a roadside survey in Florida, where species is resident year-round, similar habitats were used summer and winter; open habitats (e.g., pastures and fallow fields) and open areas with scattered trees were preferred over hardwood forests, pine (Pinus) flatwoods, and wetlands (Bohall and Collopy 1984); use of open habitats related to availability of natural perches for hunting.
  8. House Sparrow is in a very different family from that of the New World sparrows. Additionally, in birds, "pair" has a specific meaning to do with reproduction, not just two birds of different sexes.
  9. The posture/shape of the three birds in the 2nd pic is nearly diagnostic for American Robin (AMRO), assuming that you can rule out other Turdus. AMROs have a flight style that is similar to most other thrushes (solitaires being an exception), with flicking wing beats, a feature that, with study, can quickly result in determining an unknown bird as a thrush. In AMRO (and, I assume, other Turdus, but I've seen no others in flight overhead), the resting posture between beats often has the wing seemingly still partly open, as in Pic 2. The Catharus thrushes tend to bring their wings fully closed for resting posture. In my experience, bluebirds are somewhat intermediate (but more toward AMRO?), but I've orders of magnitude fewer flying overhead than the number of AMROs that I've seen in that situation. Additionally, Eastern and Western bluebirds (but not Mountain), are fairly short-tailed, while AMRO has a tail that is longish. And their tails are blue, not black.
  10. None of the first three Herring Gulls are juveniles, as they're in post-juvenile plumages, so are immatures. After October, any first-cycle Herrings in the East can be assumed to be transitioning out of juvenile plumage until proven otherwise; it's a bit different in the West. The first and third are in what is thought to be first alternate, while the second is in second basic and is a year older than the others. The fourth bird is an adult Herring Gull (note the wide and distinct tertial crescent; https://cobirds.org/CFO/ColoradoBirds/InTheScope/87.pdf). https://cobirds.org/CFO/ColoradoBirds/InTheScope/87.pdf
  11. There are no ravens in Florida; certainly your field guide would have indicated that.
  12. One of these things is not like the other...
  13. Shape -- learn shape of males then transfer to females
  14. Additionally, on the Atlantic Coast, Redhead is rare on salt water, despite that it's main wintering area is the Laguna Madre in Texas. See Maryland eBird bar charts here and scroll down and compare Canvasback and Redhead. See the Maryland Canvasback bar chart here and then click on the "High Count" tab. For instructions on how to delve into eBird data, see here.
  15. Virtually all of the ducks are Canvasbacks. The Chesapeake Bay is THE primary wintering Canvasback area.
  16. February anywhere in the US = Hermit Thrush Hermit has whitish eye rings, not buff, and Swainson's eye rings are connected to a wide, buff loral stripe forming spectacles. Hermit generally has black lateral throat stripes, while Swainson's are generally medium-dark brown. Swainson's upperparts are concolorous with the tail; Hermit's tail is strikingly orange and contrasts with upperparts, at least in Northern/Eastern birds. Hermit's slow tail lift is diagnostic, and usually does it with accompanying drooped wings.
  17. Yellow undertail coverts, no tail spots, yellow eye arcs, dark eyeline, vague olive streaking on chest
  18. Turkey Vulture, which is a communally-roosting species, hence the "whitewash" on the bird's tail.
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