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Re: [CALBIRDS] Pine Grosbeak subspecies

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  • Joseph Morlan
    Additional photos of the Galileo Hill bird, including a more detailed head shot, are now available on Bob Steele s site at:
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 5, 2004
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      Additional photos of the Galileo Hill bird, including a more detailed head
      shot, are now available on Bob Steele's site at:

      http://www.bobsteelephoto.com/Species/pigr.html


      On Thu, 4 Nov 2004 14:54:18 -0800, Les Chibana <les@...> wrote:

      >
      >I happened to have a few photos of Pine Grosbeaks taken in Alaska, and
      >a couple of them are probably flammula. I posted a page on my website
      >with the photos that also lists the bill measurements from Pyle and a
      >link to Joe Morlan's photo gallery page where you can see the Kyle's
      >photo. As I note on the page, it may be an exercise in futility to try
      >to parse out the subspecies based on ranges of measurements and from
      >photos, but perhaps someone would like to try.
      >
      ><http://www.birdnutz.com/gallery/pigr_comp.htm>
      >
      >My thoughts are that there are two other subspecies possible: montanus
      >and leucurus.
      >
      >Do I have too much time on my hands? You bet!
      >
      >Les
      >---
      >Les Chibana
      >BirdNUTZ(tm) - Ornigasmic Birding
      >em <les@...>
      >web <http://www.birdnutz.com>
      >ph 650-949-4335
      >fx 650-949-4137
      >snailmail: SR2 Box 335, La Honda CA 94020
      >
      >
      >
      >On Nov 4, 2004, at 10:26 AM, vireos44 wrote:
      >
      >> Hi all, Having looked at the Pine Grosbeak photo taken at Galileo
      >> Hill on Joe Morlan's site, I'm impressed with the length and depth
      >> of this bird's bill. That is one big bill! Having gone through pics
      >> in various books (Small;Kaufman;Audubon Society Master Guide) and
      >> followed that with an internet search, I haven't been able to find a
      >> picture of a PIGR bill that equals its size. According to Pyle,
      >> among the six PIGR subspecies occurring in North America, the
      >> California breeder (californicus)has the smallest bill. The two
      >> subspecies with the largest bills are a Siberian vagrant
      >> (kamtschatkensis), and an Alaskan-British Columbia breeder
      >> (flammula) that winters to Washington-Idaho. I wouldn't hazard a
      >> guess as to which subspecies this bird is, but I question whether it
      >> could be the California one.
      >>
      >> Jim Pike
      >> Huntington Beach
      >
      >
      >
      >
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      --
      Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA 94044 jmorlan@...
      Fall Birding Classes start Sep 14 http://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/
      California Bird Records Committee http://www.wfo-cbrc.org/cbrc/
    • Jim Gain
      Along the lines of Pine Grosbeak (PIGR), late last May, Wray Ladine and I had 2 PIGR at Courtright Reservoir in Fresno County that seemed to be mother and
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 5, 2004
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        Along the lines of Pine Grosbeak (PIGR), late last May, Wray Ladine and I
        had 2 PIGR at Courtright Reservoir in Fresno County that seemed to be mother
        and daughter. I say that because one of the birds was richly colored and the
        other was somewhat mottled without the same richness as the other. Both were
        females. The mottled-looking one was following the other one around
        everywhere it went. The adult was not feeding the young one, but seemed to
        be looking over it.



        My question is has anyone else seen this? Do second year birds hang out with
        their parents?



        Jim Gain

        Modesto



        _____

        From: Joseph Morlan [mailto:jmorlan@...]
        Sent: Friday, November 05, 2004 6:18 AM
        To: CalBirds; Kern Bird list
        Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] Pine Grosbeak subspecies



        Additional photos of the Galileo Hill bird, including a more detailed head
        shot, are now available on Bob Steele's site at:

        http://www.bobsteelephoto.com/Species/pigr.html


        On Thu, 4 Nov 2004 14:54:18 -0800, Les Chibana <les@...> wrote:

        >
        >I happened to have a few photos of Pine Grosbeaks taken in Alaska, and
        >a couple of them are probably flammula. I posted a page on my website
        >with the photos that also lists the bill measurements from Pyle and a
        >link to Joe Morlan's photo gallery page where you can see the Kyle's
        >photo. As I note on the page, it may be an exercise in futility to try
        >to parse out the subspecies based on ranges of measurements and from
        >photos, but perhaps someone would like to try.
        >
        ><http://www.birdnutz.com/gallery/pigr_comp.htm>
        >
        >My thoughts are that there are two other subspecies possible: montanus
        >and leucurus.
        >
        >Do I have too much time on my hands? You bet!
        >
        >Les
        >---
        >Les Chibana
        >BirdNUTZ(tm) - Ornigasmic Birding
        >em <les@...>
        >web <http://www.birdnutz.com>
        >ph 650-949-4335
        >fx 650-949-4137
        >snailmail: SR2 Box 335, La Honda CA 94020
        >
        >
        >
        >On Nov 4, 2004, at 10:26 AM, vireos44 wrote:
        >
        >> Hi all, Having looked at the Pine Grosbeak photo taken at Galileo
        >> Hill on Joe Morlan's site, I'm impressed with the length and depth
        >> of this bird's bill. That is one big bill! Having gone through pics
        >> in various books (Small;Kaufman;Audubon Society Master Guide) and
        >> followed that with an internet search, I haven't been able to find a
        >> picture of a PIGR bill that equals its size. According to Pyle,
        >> among the six PIGR subspecies occurring in North America, the
        >> California breeder (californicus)has the smallest bill. The two
        >> subspecies with the largest bills are a Siberian vagrant
        >> (kamtschatkensis), and an Alaskan-British Columbia breeder
        >> (flammula) that winters to Washington-Idaho. I wouldn't hazard a
        >> guess as to which subspecies this bird is, but I question whether it
        >> could be the California one.
        >>
        >> Jim Pike
        >> Huntington Beach
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Unsubscribe: mailto:CALBIRDS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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        >
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        Membership and set your mail option to No Email. Or, send a blank email to
        these addresses:
        >Turn off email delivery: mailto:CALBIRDS-nomail@yahoogroups.com
        >Resume email delivery: mailto:CALBIRDS-normal@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        --
        Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA 94044 jmorlan@...
        Fall Birding Classes start Sep 14 http://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/
        California Bird Records Committee http://www.wfo-cbrc.org/cbrc/


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      • Kimball Garrett
        Jim (and CalBirders), I agree with Les Chibana that we re not likely to pin down the subspecies of the Kern County Pine Grosbeak, but here are a couple of
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 9, 2004
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          Jim (and CalBirders),



          I agree with Les Chibana that we're not likely to pin down the
          subspecies of the Kern County Pine Grosbeak, but here are a couple of
          additional thoughts (some of which were developed with Jon Dunn as we
          watched the bird on 6 November).



          Bill size and shape does vary geographically (see BNA account #456 by
          Adkisson, 1999), but mean size varies (within a sex) only by 1.1 mm in
          culmen length and 1.7 mm in bill depth. I agree that this bird looked
          rather thick-billed, and the resident Sierra Nevada subspecies (Pinicola
          enucleator californica) has the most slender bill [bill length/depth =
          1.24; in other ssp. this ratio varies from 1.02 to 1.16]. This would
          perhaps argue against the Kern bird's being californica, but of course
          we have no measurements of the bill, just impressions from field and
          photos.



          Although californica breeds within 150 km or so to the north of Galileo
          Hill, it is not necessarily the only candidate for vagrancy; in fact,
          given the dearth of known records of this ssp. in the lowlands, I wonder
          if it isn't a poorer candidate than boreal leucura (including
          "alascensis" and "eschatosa") which is well-known to move into the
          northern couple of tiers of states during exceptional winters, or Rocky
          Mountain montana (with at least some down-mountain movement recorded).
          It doesn't seem likely that Alaska/B.C. coastal flammula would move well
          southward, but I'm not sure anything about the Galileo bird would rule
          that subspecies out [the AOU 1957 checklist says flammula has been
          recorded in winter south to n. WA and nw. ID, but Adkisson's BNA account
          says that winter British Columbia specimens are leucura and montana and
          that flammula only wanders to the n. BC coast]. I don't know the details
          of the Siskiyou/Lassen records cited in various sources or the Modoc
          record noted by John Sterling, but wonder if and how racial identity was
          determined.



          Plumage varies geographically as well, but we're hampered by not even
          knowing the sex of the Kern bird. My impression was that the primary
          coverts were rather slaty and cleanly edged with white, which might
          argue for an AHY bird (and therefore certainly a female), but can
          somebody with more familiarity with cardueline finches check the photos
          and see if they agree? If a HY bird, then the bird can't be sexed. Not
          knowing the age and sex for certain, it's difficult to apply any plumage
          subtleties to the question of subspecies. The back showed some
          indistinct dark centers, a character that varies a bit geographically,
          but without having the bird in the hand and knowing age/sex, it's of
          questionable value.



          I think we can rule out the endemic Queen Charlotte ssp. carlottae by
          plumage (that one is dark), and ne. Asian kamtschatkensis (vagrant to w.
          Alaska) by range, but maybe that's as far as we can get for certain.



          Far and away the best characters for determining geographical origin are
          vocal ones. Adkisson has studied this in detail (see Condor 83:277-288,
          1981). The loud whistled "location calls" (including "flight calls")
          show striking geographic variation; to my knowledge, nobody heard such
          calls from the Galileo bird. The Galileo bird did give quiet, repeated
          "contact calls", but according to Adkisson there is no geographical
          variation in such calls.



          So in summary I can emphatically say that I don't know the subspecies
          (and, thus, the rough geographical origin) of the Kern bird, and now
          that the bird is apparently gone we're not likely to ever know. If the
          bird got munched by an Accipiter, perhaps someone will find a pile of
          feathers that can be used for genetic analysis???



          -- Kimball





          Kimball L. Garrett

          Ornithology Collections Manager

          Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

          900 Exposition Blvd.

          Los Angeles CA 90007

          (213) 763-3368

          (213) 746-2999 FAX

          kgarrett@...





          -----Original Message-----
          From: vireos44 [mailto:jpike44@...]
          Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2004 10:27 AM
          To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [CALBIRDS] Pine Grosbeak subspecies



          Hi all, Having looked at the Pine Grosbeak photo taken at Galileo

          Hill on Joe Morlan's site, I'm impressed with the length and depth

          of this bird's bill. That is one big bill! Having gone through pics

          in various books (Small;Kaufman;Audubon Society Master Guide) and

          followed that with an internet search, I haven't been able to find a

          picture of a PIGR bill that equals its size. According to Pyle,

          among the six PIGR subspecies occurring in North America, the

          California breeder (californicus)has the smallest bill. The two

          subspecies with the largest bills are a Siberian vagrant

          (kamtschatkensis), and an Alaskan-British Columbia breeder

          (flammula) that winters to Washington-Idaho. I wouldn't hazard a

          guess as to which subspecies this bird is, but I question whether it

          could be the California one.



          Jim Pike

          Huntington Beach



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