Date: 6/19/20 2:36 pm From: Gerald Meenaghan <dmarc-noreply...> (Redacted sender meenaghang for DMARC) Subject: [obol] Blue-eyed Redheads and Incidence of Recessive Gene Expression in Pileated Woodpeckers
Oregon / Lane Birders,
This morning, John Sullivan and I had a really nice experience with a pair of pileated woodpeckers at Wayne Morse Ranch in Eugene. Upon my return home, I processed my pictures to find that the male (redhead) has blue irises. At first, I just thought it was cool-looking, but after a cursory Google image search, I’m finding it’s quite rare. Another cursory search on eBird’s Macaulay Library indicates that it’s perhaps ~1/100, making it about as common as red hair in humans. Yellow irises are the norm, with dark (orange, brown) irises being the next most common. Does anyone have any leads on the prevalence of this blue iris recessive gene expression in pileated woodpeckers? Basically, how rare exactly are blue irises on a pileated woodpecker?