Date: 8/25/20 2:46 pm
From: David Bailey <davidcbaileyoregon...>
Subject: [obol] Re: grosfinch
This reminds me of giant mutant Song Sparrow Bob Archer found in Sherman
County a few years ago. Purhaps the grosfinch an oversized mutant Purple

David C. Bailey
Seaside, Oregon

On Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 13:56 Darrel Faxon <t4c1x...> wrote:

> OK.
> I saw the bird.
> I have seen Bill's photos.
> I have studied Chuck's photos.
> I have read the comments.
> Consequently, some thoughts are in order.
> (1) Given the fact the consensus from a number of very good birders
> is that the bird was not a Pine Grosbeak, I concede I may have been wrong.
> It is not the first time it has happened, and it likely will not be the
> last.
> (2) None of the photos by either Bill or Chuck look to either Laura
> or me like the bird looked in life. Whether that is an artifact of
> lighting, camera function or faulty imagination on my part is for others to
> decide.
> (3) The fact that the bird was in ratty plumage did not help in the
> identification process.
> (4) As others have pointed out, there seem to be discrepancies
> between the plumage of the bird as photographed and that of any of the
> disputed species as shown in the field guides.
> (5) Under the circumstances, it might prove helpful, to some extent,
> to shed some species by process of elimination. Excluding Common Rosefinch,
> which does not need to be considered, there are six members of
> Fringillidae, that could be considered. Pine Grosbeak, Purple Finch,
> Cassin's Finch, House Finch, Red Crossbill and White-winged Crossbill. Toss
> the crossbills. Taking a cue from consensus, toss Pine Grosbeak. We are
> down to the three carpodacus finches.
> The bird in question had a deeply forked tail. Even though Sibley does not
> show this mark for Pine Grosbeak, nearly all online photos of the species
> reveal it to be a prominent feature of that species' plumage. House Finch
> has a squared off tail, which is even useful in separating it from Purple
> Finch, which has a deeper fork. Toss House Finch. When I first saw the bird
> in question at my feeder, I assumed it was a Black-headed Grosbeak, because
> they had been regular at that same feeder right up to the day of the
> sighting, and this new bird was every bit as large as a Black-headed
> Grosbeak. In the study I did of it over the next two and a half hours, much
> of the time during which it was sitting in plain sight on an exposed branch
> of a cherry tree about thirty feet from me, I had the same impression of
> its size. Additionally, at one point it was in the feeder with a Pine
> Siskin, and the size difference was obvious. One of the photos taken by
> Bill Tice shows this fact. I have many Purple Finches at my feeder every
> day all summer long, and never once have I seen one I mistook by size for a
> Black-headed Grosbeak.. Based on size, toss Purple Finch. That goes for
> Cassin's Finch as well.
> So what that that leave? I still think there were features of the
> bird as I saw it, that answer to PIne Grosbeak, but the photos do not back
> up that assessment. For one thing, the bill is simply flat out wrong for
> that species, and given that discrepancy, I see no point in discussing
> other features of the admittedly ratty plumage.. Grosfinch. pure and
> simple. I would like to think this sighting proved to be a learning
> experience for myself and others, but what any of us might have learned
> seems to me be as much in question as the identity of the bird.
> Thank you to all of you, who responded to my posts in regard to it,
> both on OBOL and in private. Crow doesn't taste so bad if one puts enough
> whipped cream on it.
> Darrel

Join us on Facebook!