Date: 11/29/18 11:48 pm
From: Robert O'Brien <baro...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Clatsop bunting
An excellent summary Shawneen. Now I wonder whether such an analysis could
be (or perhaps has been) applied
to the Bean Goose 'species' now (or previously) in Oregon. Two tough birds
here at the same time!
Bob OBrien


On Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 9:44 PM Shawneen Finnegan <
<shawneenfinnegan...> wrote:

> I sent photos of the bunting to Paul Lehman for his thoughts given he has
> spent the last 20+ falls up at Gambell. He is in the process of completing
> a book on the birds of Gambell. I would imagine he has seen far more
> Snow/McKay’s Buntings than any of us have put together. One or two like
> this show up every fall at Gambell.
>
> After looking at Diana’s photos he said he could send lots of photos that
> exactly match this bird. The bottom line is that young females this time of
> the year are the most difficult to identify. Are they young McKay’s,
> hybrids or pale Snow Buntings? His answer is that he just doesn’t know what
> they are. There are birds, too, that are seen every fall that look far more
> like McKay’s than these young pale females.
>
> These two species a very closely related. From talking to Dan Gibson
> (retired museum curator of the University of Alaska Fairbanks) and others
> when the pale PDX bunting was around a few years ago I came away
> understanding that these birds are very difficult to confidently identify.
> Am I confident that the Pyle guide is the end all to telling these species
> apart? Not necessarily when you have such an understudied species that
> hybridizes.
>
> It may just be that it can’t be assigned to one or the other species. Not
> all birds can be pigeon-holed into a particular species just because we
> want them to be one or the other. If the folks who have been studying this
> ID problem for years have difficulty assigning a name to these maybe we
> shouldn’t rush into it either.
>
> Shawneen Finnegan
> Beaverton, OR
>
>
>
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