[Tweeters] Union Bay Watch } Storm Passing
clsouth at u.washington.edu
Mon Apr 3 19:57:50 PDT 2017
According to the "Identification Guide to North American Birds", part 1, by Peter Pyle--(the book that all banders in North America use for aging, sexing, and band sizes):
concerning Pileated Woodpeckers(PIWO)
Age--Juv (May-Sep)"...and iris probably gray-brown or brownish."
HY/SY "... and/or iris color probably grayer or browner (vs deep red in ASY/ATYs).."
Note: Juv = nestling thru first year;
HY = hatch year; SY = second year;
ASY = after second year; ATY = after third year
Based on this info of using eye coloring to help age a Pileated Woodpecker (PIWO), Storm could still be alive (with red eyes) since she still could have had brown eyes as a second year mother, with her eyes then changing to a deep red (Note: eye color can be very hard to determine unless being held in the hand.)
She may, or may not, be alive--eye color in this case is not a valid eliminator. (If Storm had been shown with red eyes, and then there were only females with brown eyes, that would be a valid eliminator, provided there were good photos showing the eyes in good light (which you have).
There is no indication that there is a sexual dimorphism of the eyes. Both males and females are assumed to follow the referenced color changes.
I am not sure about the yellow eyes.
Some of your pictures, and in "The Owl and the Woodpecker" by Paul Bannick, on pages 44-45, both show females with apparently yellow eyes. Also the male nestling shown feeding on page 46 seems to have yellow eyes, but according to Pyle they should be gray with the angle of lighting playing tricks with our perceptions--or they really could be yellow, and Pyle somehow missed that in his many studies.
That being said, PIWO mate for life, so I would focus on the male, Chip, and see if he is alone, has a mate, or is courting. If he appears to have a mate, with red eyes, it is possibly a grown-up mature Storm.
clsouthwick at q.com
P.S I have a picture showing a female PIWO being banded by myself and Don Norman, for anyone who is interested.
On Sat, 1 Apr 2017, Hubbell wrote:
> Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2017 15:44:20 -0700
> From: Hubbell <ldhubbell at comcast.net>
> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
> Subject: [Tweeters] Union Bay Watch } Storm Passing
> This winter I have slowly come to the conclusion that Storm, our Union Bay female pileated woodpecker, is no longer with us. While digging through my
> pileated photos and studying the details I have once again spotted information which I had previous overlooked. Apparently, I have also reached the
> limit of our current knowledge about eye colors in female pileated woodpeckers. If you would like to help me expand my knowledge please read the
> following post:
> Have a great day on Union Bay!
> Larry Hubbell
> ldhubbell at comcast dot net
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