[obol] Union County, OR :' a very black-backed male' LESSER GOLDFINCH

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "AVITOURS@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: obol@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:00:43 -0400 (EDT)

Birders -
Yesterday (6/25, 4:30 PM), I  received a call from La Grande birder, 
Michael Wiens.  He had phoned to ask  if the black backed subspecies of LESSER 
GOLDFINCH has occurred in Oregon  before, and that he had a very dark-backed 
LESSER GOLDFINCH coming to his  Thistle Feeder .  I did not know.  Marshall, 
D.B., M.G. Hunter,  and A.L. Contreras, Eds. 2003. Birds of Oregon: A General 
Reference. Oregon  State University Press, Corvallis, OR. pg 608, states 
that "Birds reported as  'black-backed' in se. Oregon could be C.p. psaltria 
(Texas) or a variation in  hesperophila (PNW & SW), specimens would be 
necessary for  confirmation.  Sibley mentions that the back color of Lesser 
Goldfinch  varies geographically, with virtually all adult males in southern 
having  black backs and virtually all adult males west of Colorado and New 
Mexico are  gree-backed.  Beadle & Rising's Tanagers, Cardinals & Finches of 
 the US & Canada talk about the substantial differences between the molts 
of  the two subspecies and thumbing through Pyle's Identification Guide to 
North  American Birds is a bit difficult for me to follow being that I am not 
a bander  and I am currently trying to gain a better understanding of molt.  
I ran over to Michael's house and together we took a few photos.  The  best 
photos can be viewed  here:
In one of my  other photos, white shows clearly in the tail, which may 
eliminate the  black-backed subspecies.  This is definitely the darkest 
back/auricular  colored LESSER GOLDFINCH I have ever seen in Oregon.  Anyone 
any  experience with dark-backed LESSER GOLDFINCHES outside of Texas? 
Good  birding,
- Trent Bray 
The Bobolink - Linking Birders & Birds
1707  5th Street
La Grande, OR  97850
(541) 963 - 2888

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