[CT Birds] Junco

Mark Szantyr birdinggeek at gmail.com
Sun Nov 18 09:20:56 EST 2012

Cameras neither lie nor do they tell the truth.  They record information that we are left to interpret...and therein is the problem. Pictures are great but written notes and careful study in the field are priceless. 

The genus junco is very difficult to sort out.  Its a moving target that is described in terms of various persinal opinion and interpretation of color and pattern.  Is it brown enough?  Gray enough? Hooded enough?  Is that pink or rust or russet or ochre or bistre, or terra cotta?

We are also mostly trying to do this from birds observed in the winter at feeders where all the forms are possible and can't be tied to a breeding locality.... The locality bring what determines subspecies rather than what it looks like...

Withiut genetic information, this is at best conjecture on all of our parts.

Is the East Shore Park bird an "Oregon" Junco?  "Pink-sided"? "Cassiar"?....what is a Cassiar Junco anyway?

Its a great observation Luke and the photos and your notes are excellent... Now if we could just get a digital camera that sequences DNA in the field...


On Nov 18, 2012, at 7:16 AM, streatham2003 at aol.com wrote:

> Hi Mark et al,
> Totally agree with you points. Looks like I got too caught up in lores and throat aspect of the Junco whilst trying to make an ID as opposed to the flank coloration and extensiveness which seems to be much more key to this identification (I thought they looked brighter and more extensive the couple of times it was out in decent light in the field - but the camera doesn't lie). Should have given it more of a grilling, but got carried away with getting pictures and people on the bird. Thanks to Nick Bonomo for his thoughts offline as well.
> Luke Tiller, Greenwich
> www.underclearskies.com
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