[Tweeters] Union Bay Watch } Storm Passing

Hubbell ldhubbell at comcast.net
Mon Apr 3 23:06:53 PDT 2017


Christine,

Much of what I have seen agrees with Mr. Pyle. (I also have his books.) However, it seems to me there are some things which are unresolved. Like:

a) Twice, I have seen gray eyes in young males just after fledging - which agrees with Mr. Pyle. However, I also have taken photos which clearly show one of the young male’s eyes turning yellow in August of the HY - which Mr. Pyle does not address. (I have not observed the same colors in young females. I do not know if this is a matter of happen stance e.g. the light has never been right or if young females have inherently darker eyes than young males e.g. possibly more brown.)

b) My photos show Storm having red-eyes for ~4 years and Dennis Paulson has photos of mature female(s) with red eyes - which agrees with Mr. Pyle. However, thanks to a kind reader of my blog, I currently have a total of five photos, each showing a different female, with yellow irises - which Mr. Pyle does not mention.

c) The female with Chip this year clearly has brown irises. I have followed her off and on for three months and taken dozens (possibly hundreds) of photos in good light. This makes her a new SY bird with iris coloring which agrees with Mr. Pyle. However many females in photos I see via Google have yellow irises - which Mr. Pyle does not address.

d) Most males I see via Google have yellow irises and both of the adult males I have photographed around Union Bay, during the last five years, had yellow irises - which again Mr. Pyle does not mention.

I am not finding fault with Mr. Pyle. I just think there is more to learn. I have not found any source which explains a development process or a relationship between the yellow and red colors. This why I am trying to gather more information.

Yes, I would love to have a photo of the bird you were banding (along with the location and time) especially if we can see the iris color.

Larry

PS: I think there is one other assumption I am making which I should have stated up front. I believe the facial markings on pileated woodpeckers are unique. I realize feathers can move about in the wind or brush against a tree, etc. - however with enough photos of local birds and close observation I believe we can often identify individual pileated woodpeckers. The supercilium appears to be the major key to the process.




> On Apr 3, 2017, at 7:57 PM, Christine Southwick <clsouth at u.washington.edu> wrote:

>

> Larry,

>

> 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)

>

> page 204

>

> Age--Juv (May-Sep)"...and iris probably gray-brown or brownish."

> and

> 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.

>

> Regards,

>

> Christine Southwick

> clsouthwick at q.com

> N Seattle/Shoreline

>

> 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

>>

>> Tweeters,

>> 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:

>>

>> http://unionbaywatch.blogspot.com/2017/04/storm-passing.html

>>

>> Have a great day on Union Bay!

>>

>> Larry Hubbell

>> ldhubbell at comcast dot net

>>

>

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