Date: 11/30/18 7:52 am
From: Bob Archer <rabican1...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Clatsop bunting
I hunted for info on the PDX bird from 2011 that Tom found and I mentioned
yesterday and Shawneen mentions.Very happy to find this:

http://www.birdfellow.com/journal/2011/12/21/a_closer_look_the_pdx_snow_bunting

I recall getting same lesson as Shawneen and thus my comments yesterday. I
know 2011 involved a male but point still stands. These can be very tough
birds to id.

Bob Archer

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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