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Hi all,

I'd appreciate it if you could let me know whether this is a Bewick's Wren. It looks pretty good to me, except for the lighter markings on the outer tail feathers which don't quite match what I see on the Cornell "All About Birds" site. 

Thanks!

Mark

 

Bewick's Wren.jpg

Bewick's Wren 3.jpg

Bewick's Wren 2.jpg

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the whiter marks might just be some downy feathers from its rump being pushed up by wind or something like that, could also just not be shown on "all about birds"

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10 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

Which "lighter markings" do you mean?

The photo from All About Birds (copied below) shows a white/dark banding pattern on both sides of the tail from rump to tip. I don't see this in my photo. Could just be the angle or the way the tails are (or are not) displayed.

 

 

Bewick's Wren - All About Birds.png

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In bird tails, the central feathers, known as the central rectrices and which are the first feathers on both the right and left side of the tail and are called the first rectrices or r1s (that is the plural form of "r1"). The r1s  lie on top of all other rectrices. The next pair of right-and-left feathers -- the r2s -- lie under the central pair, the next pair -- the r3s -- lie under the r1s and r2s. Most birds have 12 rectrices in six pairs, making the outermost tail feathers the r6s. When the tail is closed, most all one sees from above is the r1s. The more the tail is spread, the more of the rectrices one can see from above. However, birds are not relegate to fanning the tail in orderly fashion, they have fine-scale control over individual tail feathers -- a feat virtually required for flight. Birds can expose -- or NOT -- the r6s to view from above at will.

Additionally, it is fall and many birds molt in fall. Many or most bird species molt their tail feathers in orderly progression, usually from the inside out. It is easy to see in your second photo when you compare it to the All About Birds picture that you provided, that your bird's outer two or three pairs of rectrices (r4s, r5s, and r6s) are abnormally short. That means that they're still in the process of growth. If you then look back at the central tail feathers, they are notably full-length and quite fresh. The next pair or two (the r2s and, maybe, the r3s), of which one can see only the edges in your photo, also appear to be full-length and unworn. Those have been recently replaced in the molt that the bird is conducting. Then, what exist of the three outer pairs of rectrices are notably short. They are not full-grown. Given that this wren, like most birds, began replacing tail feathers with the central pair, then at some point, it will have dropped the old r6s, but the replacements are simply too short to be seen as of the taking of the photos. Your bird simply does not currently possess the heavily pale-marked feathers of the All About Birds Bewick's Wren.

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4 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

In bird tails, the central feathers, known as the central rectrices...

That's a great education, Tony. Thank you so much for this thoughtful and well-explained reply!

Mark

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