Pretty Birds and the Backcross Warbler

Banding today was dismally slow, with ice on the nets in the early morning, cold temps and then windy conditions. 
However, on Sunday morning we managed a couple of nice birds.  This Baltimore Oriole was a return bird, first banded in the spring of 2007.  He was unusually stunning and a bit fiesty.

Our cutie of the day goes to this magnificent magnolia warbler!



Oh, and an update on the blue-winged warbler with yellow wingbars.  The opinion among other banders and birders like ‘Nathan’ who left a comment on the previous post, is that this is a backcross warbler; that is, a blue-winged/golden-winged warbler hybrid bred with either a pure blue-winged or golden-winged to produce this bird. Some interesting discussions ensued on the bander’s forum where I posted a link to the photo.

Apparently, as NOT depicted in the popular field guides, backcross warblers are quite common, as are different plumage variations in BW/GWWA hybrids.  Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario said they’ve been banding backcross blue-winged warblers for decades, and rarely get a ‘pure’ one anymore, while the golden-winged warblers remain pure.  On the other hand, Kestrel Haven Avian Migration Observatory in the Finger Lakes Region of New York says the blue-winged and golden-winged warblers they have banded over the years were pure and the hybrids they have encountered have conformed to the standard descriptions of Brewster’s and Lawrence’s warblers.  Interesting observations.   We will, of course, be noting in our records whether the BWWA we are banding are pure or back-crossed, along with any notable plumage patterns.


2 Responses to “Pretty Birds and the Backcross Warbler”

  1. Ruth Says:

    I can only identify three or four different warblers easily. You post demonstrates how things continue to change and how quickly written guides become outdated. The internet is a great tool for learning.

  2. 2010 in review – Who Knew? « Natural Notes Says:

    […] The busiest day of the year was July 26th with 188 views. The most popular post that day was Pretty Birds and the Backcross Warbler. […]

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