Tuesday, February 01, 2005

For comparison, here is a photo of a different Merlin I found on March 23, 2003, also here in Yamhill County. Is it light enough to be considered of the F.c. richardsonii subspecies? No obvious mustache. (?)


At 5:31 PM, Blogger J. Harry Krueger said...

This bird definitely has characteristics that point to F. c. richardsonii, but the overall color seems a bit dark. If this is just photo "distortion" or not is impossible to tell. While there is no visible muctachial stripe, on some lighter F. c. columbarius this can be difficult to see. We do have an additional clue in the width of the tail bands where the light band(s) visible are narrow, much more characteristic of columbarius, although the amount of light feathereing on the hindneck is troubling for that race and more characteristic of richardsonii. F. c. columbarius and F. c. richardsonii do overlap in at the edges of their range and therefore some are clinal and difficult to definitively tell as to subspecies. This might just be one of those birds...definitely not a "norm" for either race. Note that F. c. richardsonii is expected in very small numbers in the western US in winter and not withstanding my cautionary comments could be that subspecies.
Any more pictures of this bird?


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