I'm not sure if I follow your comment with regard to this being "sorted out." The later posts offered lots of chatter about Tricolored Blackbird, so I am hoping that you were not meaning to suggest that there was consensus regarding Owen's bird being a Tricolored Blackbird.
Here is a photo of a typical female Bicolored Red-winged Blackbird. Note the overall coloration, the absence of wing bars, the minimal amount of streaking (mainly limited to the breast) and the paler orangish buffy color in the face. All match Owen's bird pretty much dead on.
Female Tricoloreds are not brown, they are the color of soot or ash, with cold grays and blacks in their plumage. They have at least one and often two crisp pale gray to whitish wing bars. The supercilium is similarly pale gray to whitish. Tricoloreds show more streaking on the breast than Owen's bird.
Over recent years, I have put a fair amount of time into studying the variation in Red-winged Blackbirds and Tricolored Blackbirds, even writing this blog piece on the topic. It includes several photos of Tricolored females for comparison to Owen's bird.
My April 2018 trip to California was the first time that I really paid much attention to Bicolored Red-winged Blackbirds. Unfortunately, I was down there for work and did not have a camera with me, so I didn't get any photos. I was there for a week and I went out birding every morning for several hours before heading to work. I spent a lot of time studying the Bicoloreds, particularly the females, as they are so different standard issue Red-wingeds. I can't see anything about Owen's bird that doesn't fit Bicolored.
Further, I think that the proximity of the nearest Tricolored breeding colony is sort of irrelevant in this case. In my opinion, what the bird looks like and its actual field marks need to be sorted out first. Unless the bird looks like a Tricolored, and it doesn't, what difference does it make how close the nearest breeding colony of Trikes is located? The dots don't connect.
If we want to talk about proximity of the nearest population, it should be noted that Bicoloreds are found regularly around Redding, CA, which is only about 330 miles from Burns and Malheur.
I am inclined to think this is "sorted out" as well.
From: Alan Contreras <acontrer56...>
Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 2:18 AM
Cc: <jackdaynes...>; <llsdirons...>; Owen Schmidt; OBOL
Subject: Re: [obol] Re: Interesting blackbird
Tricoloreds have nested very far north in Oregon. What is your analysis of why you say it is a Tricolored. I haven’t spent much time with the photo. Tricolored is more likely based on geography. It would be big news in Harney County though, since it has never been proven to have occurred there, at least previously.
BTW: It is TRI-colored, not BI-colored. I've photographed Tricolored BB in the Klamath basin, but I believe their range extends throughout California and slightly north and south of the state, so Klamath isn't surprising. Malheur, on the other hand, is stretching the boundary just a bit ... but then Why not?
On 6/5/2018 2:47 PM, David Irons wrote:
I was down in the north Bay Area (Santa Rosa and Petaluma) about six weeks ago. The Red-wingeds there are essentially all Bicolored. I saw hundreds of them. This bird is consistent with Bicolored and certainly unlike any regular female Red-winged Blackbird that I’ve seen.
…….. last Thursday at Malheur NWR HQ, a very dark female Red-winged Blackbird that may have been a Bicolored Blackbird, which if so is way out of range from its endemic central California:
-- Jack --
<http://shadeTree-imaging.com/> Wildlife Photography with
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