[Tweeters] Possible rare hybrid, Kai Tai Lagoon, Port Townsend

MIRANDA MIKESH mlmolympics at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 21 15:33:15 PDT 2022

Thank you to all those who’ve contributed their thoughts and insight on my recent, unusual Chestnut-backed chickadee sighting in Port Townsend.

The consensus seems to be that pollen is accounting for the “yellow belly” observed on this bird. I had not initially considered this possibility and it does seem sensible. However, my account of this particular bird was that the yellow coloring was very uniformly distributed and also strictly on the belly (ie, none on the bird’s face/head, wings, etc). By comparison, Scott Ramos posted a link regarding pollen that clearly shows exactly what I would assume to be the case if pollen is the factor - pollen randomly distributed on varied parts of the bird.

This said, while I again think that pollen serves as a logical answer, I do somewhat question this per the chickadee I observed…simply due to how perfectly distributed the yellow coloring was, etc.

As a sort of follow-up idea and question to my original question: anyone have thoughts on some sort of genetic variation in feather pigmentation so to speak…..and/or any thoughts on some sort of hybrid scenario with another species (ie, consensus is that the Yellow-bellied tit does not show migration evidence to be a logical contender…..I wonder then, if another hybrid combination could account for things?).

If it turns out that pollen is in fact the answer for the color variation, I can at least say I’ll never forget this “rare chickadee”! so to speak…..

….And at the end of the day even our local, backyard birds are remarkable and worth our appreciation as birders….

~Miranda Maxwell
mlmolympics at hotmail.com
Port Townsend, WA

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