Date: 1/26/19 4:29 pm From: Christopher Hill (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Re: Size of female Goldeneyes
While we’re questioning things, Ben Franklin didn’t say “question authority.”
ObBird: Birds are really ramping up their singing here in Conway, SC, and one of the most interesting tidbits to me was that there was a Carolina Chickadee near my house singing his fee-bee-fee-bay song, but this particular bird sings fee-bee-fee-bay-fee-bay, six noted instead of four. I’m always tuned in to weird chickadee songs, dating back to when I did some recordings back in the 90s that got published in a Black-capped Chickadee dialect paper.*
So anyway, this weird chickadee song is not new. I have heard it in the neighborhood for over five years. The chance that the original bird singing the six note song is still alive is very small, so I think it is slightly more likely that the legacy of that 2012 singer is carried on by a new generation of bird(s). And it has never been widespread, only one bird at a time, while most of the neighboring males sing a normal four-note song.
*Kroodsma, D. E., B. E. Byers, S. L. Halkin, C. Hill, D. Minis, J. R. Bolsinger, J.-A. Dawson, E. Donelan, J. Farrington, F. Gill, P. Houlihan, D. Innes, G. Keller, L. Macaulay, C. A. Marantz, J. Ortiz, P. K. Stoddard, and K. Wilda. 1999. Geographic variation of black-capped chickadee songs and singing behavior in North America. Auk 116:387-402.
I was told recently by a supposed "expert" that a bird smaller than a ring-necked duck couldn't be a goldeneye. But that information is incorrect! there are plenty of pictures showing goldeneye females next to our smallest duck, the bufflehead, and just barely bigger than them. Goldeneye females are MUCH smaller than males, and can easily be significantly smaller than ring-necks. Just another case of the "experts" being wrong!