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junco forms


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I doubt I influenced this trend at all... but... A few years back, I thought I had an oregon junco but, no, it wasn't brown. Cismontanus(did I spell that right?) was what I had. Cool.
At that point, even my eBird reviewer wasn't sure about it... It wasn't an option that was easy to submit. And NOBODY on the listserv(mail list) was talking about that form before.
Fast forward a couple years and now it's like we have junco experts... To be fair, the people I'm talking about are VERY good birders... but, suddenly they're being very specific when they weren't before, and, wouldn't have known before. It's an interesting trend... with pros and cons... the only real cons is people trying to submit stuff they don't know as much about as they think.
But, eh...
My concern(and yes, there is an ID photo coming soon) is that a LOT of these forms that people are finding are, well, I believe mixed. Even on all about birds, they have two oregon males, one with brown sides and one with gray sides. Weird.
And then I've personally seen in my yard, and birds people have submitted to eBird, juncos that looked like a blend and were just hard to nail down specifically, in my OPINION. 
How many of the different form birds pass through are just straight that form and not a combination? Certainly they interbreed... 

anyway... I find it fascinating(and frustrating) to stare at the juncos in my yard to look for something different. "different" birds are abundant enough it seems.
When I find one that looks like a mini towhee(at a quick glance) it always catches my eye.
So, this one(if it's even the one I saw a while before I got this photo) had a VERY distinct dark hood, lighter color on the sides... Definitely not typical slate...
So I looked and looked... found a variety of different birds, some may have just been female slates... I got this one picture(they weren't sitting still at all today) and you can see the distinct hood, that gets a little less distinct towards the back... brownish on the back, and a light brownish on the sides.

When I look at the website ID photos for the different forms, SO many of my odd birds don't match any of them perfectly.
I'd want to lean towards oregon or oregon influence...
Feel free to share your impression of this bird as well as your general thoughts on the whole thing with different forms for these birds.
image.thumb.png.a29ad827de0b58e505731039f4ac2918.png

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On a male Junco the Oregon hood is going to stand out much more, like yours, than a cismontanus.   Also more buffy than grey flanks helps point that way also.  A cisomontanus is going to be more grey than buffy, when mixed together.  

 

This is the closest to Oregon I have had a cisomontanus.  Eventually we probably learn they are a result of some mixing of subspecies somewhere.  

1200

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20 hours ago, millipede said:

your general thoughts on the whole thing with different forms for these birds.

Dark-eyed Junco is about as far as my thoughts go. With so many variables, further classification is more frustration than I am interested in. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing interesting variations, I just don't have the brain space to sort out those variations.

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6 hours ago, lonestranger said:

Dark-eyed Junco is about as far as my thoughts go. With so many variables, further classification is more frustration than I am interested in. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing interesting variations, I just don't have the brain space to sort out those variations.

Same here.

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I'm far from an expert, but if I saw this bird up here in Oregonland I'd think it had some slate-coloured/cismontanus genes with the dark back and grey on the flanks, but would still call it an Oregon because it's not dark enough to be predominantly other. I don't know how to make this call down by you. 

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