Date: 6/19/20 5:26 pm
From: Sarah Sloane <sloane...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Blue-eyed Redheads and Incidence of Recessive Gene Expression in Pileated Woodpeckers
Are you sure the blue-eyed pileated isn’t a juvenile of the year? Female bushtits hatch with dark brown eyes and the iris changes to cream or yellow very slowly. It passes through a gray-blue stage that looks very much like the iris in the picture.

Just a thought.



Dr Sarah A. Sloane
Associate Professor
Dept. of Biology
Division of Natural Sciences
University of Maine at Farmington
Farmington, Maine 04938

207-778-7484 (office)
207-500-3733 (cell)


> On Jun 19, 2020, at 2:35 PM, Gerald Meenaghan (Redacted sender "meenaghang" for DMARC) <dmarc-noreply...> wrote:
> 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?
> I’ve attached one small example picture here. More can be found here: <>
> With thanks in advance,
> Gerry Meenaghan
> <meenaghang...> <mailto:<meenaghang...>
> 541-221-4307
> <Blue-eyed redhead7.jpg>

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