Date: 1/26/19 4:28 pm
From: Jesse Pope (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Size of female Goldeneyes
Guy,

I almost never respond to negative comments, but I think this one requires a response, since it appears you are attacking many “more experienced” birders in the community.

First off, size is NOT the best characteristic in determining male/female or Barrows/Common Goldeneyes. In general terms, using comparisons in photos is rarely useful to determine size in many bird species because it’s very hard to determine the exact angle and distance of the birds relative to each other.

Goldeneyes have a number of other characteristics that are much better “go-to” details to focus on when considering an ID. Here is a good resources to check out regarding goldeneyes, but I’m sure someone as “expert” as you has already reviewed this:

https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.sibleyguides.com_2010_01_distinguishing-2Dfemale-2Dbarrows-2Dand-2Dcommon-2Dgoldeneyes_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=16hIQydkYC4Mjx_2TYKMqicLX8jXLy-IBwpcETTWtp8&s=C8tuds85ppNS2AYLQPSlfg7LslWVwBGE6Ue1rgYTfs4&e=

I think it’s important to always be willing to learn from other more skilled and qualified birders, no matter how improved ones’ skills become. It’s important to spend time with people more experienced than you to learn nuances of difficult IDs.

Birding is hard! Bird ID is hard! We don’t always get enough of a look to make a positive ID. That’s birding. Put an impossible ID, or a bad picture, to rest and move on! That’s birding. As soon as you think you have it figured out, especially when you feel more knowledgeable than birders more experienced than you, I think that warrants a hard look in the mirror. Maybe you have surpassed the expertise of the folks around you! Maybe not...

For the record, I don’t consider myself an “expert” by no means, but I have spent over 15 years learning as much as I can about birds. I love them, and I love birding with my friends, not because I’m trying to pad my list or become better or more expert than the next person. I do it out of a natural curiosity for birds and all things natural.

My two cents.

Most respectfully,

Jesse Pope

Linville, NC

> On Jan 26, 2019, at 6:49 PM, <badgerboy...> wrote:
>
> 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!
>
> I was reminded of this by a recent ebird post showing a female goldeneye with some buffleheads. You can see how it is barely bigger than the buffies at https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__ebird.org_view_checklist_S52022328&d=DwIDaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=1v06SvR-nmKM8h-Q0RxLu1603WcRhUhmECIUS3xtd2Y&s=y8ObzrabeAnfo9iszVhrjsqTkkvmfi8gY83udKik7x0&e= . With quite a few goldeneyes showing up now with the cold weather, its good to keep in mind. And always bear in mind Ben Franklins advice: "Question Authority!"
>
> Guy McGrane, Deep Gap, NC
>
>

 
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