Date: 3/6/18 6:51 am
From: David Davis via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Purple Finch plumage
We have 5 adult male Purple Finches at our feeders this morning in the mountains of Shenandoah County, but no females. In the fall/early winter, we usually have both adult males and female-plumaged birds, the latter presumably a mix of females and immature males. These observations prompt two questions. First, do adult males migrate separately from females, especially in late winter when they may be moving back toward their breeding range?

Second, when is it safe to assume that a streaked bird (aka female-plumaged) is really a female rather than of indeterminate sex? I assume that by this date, all the immature males would have molted into adult male plumage, but I don’t really know for sure. Are there “safe dates” for calling a streaked bird a female in Virginia? I would like to know for eBird purposes, so I can correctly assign sex to my sightings.

Thanks and good birding.

Dave Davis

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