Painted Bunting again

Ruth Taylor rutht at
Sun Mar 3 18:23:03 PST 2002

Gene & Tweets:
The question about whether the painted bunting would be an accepted record
came up this morning while several of us were waiting for it to pop out of
the ivy & back into view. I can understand why these birds might be assumed
to be escapees from captivity in Southern California, or even in the rest of
California, but, up here?
What kind of research are you referring to? I would *guess* there would be
checking with "exotic bird" aficionados to see if many, or any, are
sold/kept up here. I would also *guess* that the WRBRC would look at other
accepted records and analyze them. Beyond that?
One person mentioned that often birds are assumed to be escapees, or in some
way human-assisted, if there is no proof that they are not. What kind of
proof would they be able to provide? Why would there be an assumption of a
bird being an escapee if there is no evidence to the contrary? Our legal
system assumes innocent until proven guilty. Does the WRBRC assume a
different standard of proof? I hope I'm not being naive, but I am curious
about this process.
Whatever the answers - the bird is a beauty. To stand in the sun on a
beautiful morning and watch this creature flit about - this surely makes up
for those futile chases in the rain. :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Eugene Hunn <enhunn at>
To: TWEETERS <tweeters at>
Date: Sunday, March 03, 2002 1:15 PM
Subject: Painted Bunting again

>The question of whether it is a truly wild bird or an escape will require

>some research. Oregon has two accepted records:


>The California records committee seems to review half a dozen reports each

>year, accepting most female and immature birds that show no suspicious


>of having been held in captivity but skeptical of adult males, especially

>from near the Mexican border, or those with signs of captivity (e.g.,


>feathers, sores on legs or beak, orange versus red underparts... but the

>question here is what do they mean by "orange," as Painted Buntings I've

>seen in Mexico looked the same "tomato red" [i.e., orangish red] as this

>bird). The fact that this bird shows a patch of yellow on the red breast


>or may not indicate that it is a first year male. I don't have the

>references to determine if this is a sign of immaturity or a stage in the

>normal annual molt cycle.



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