[TN-Bird] Birds without red

  • From: Bill Pulliam <littlezz@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: TN-Bird Listserv <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 10:00:06 -0500

I have two nephews who are red-green colorblind, both of whom are also interested in nature, snakes, critters, etc. A few years ago I had noticed that while some things that are obvious to us "normal" trichromats are very inconspicuous to them, other things we would easily overlook, such as a cottonmouth resting on the forest floor, where much MORE conspicuous to them. A couple of days ago one of them came along with me on a Breeding Bird Survey route as my non- birding assistant and data recorder, and it was interesting viewing the bird world vicariously through his eyes. Male Cardinals are drab, dark, unremarkable birds to him. Their role as the common stunningly bright bird is filled for him by the Indigo Bunting, whose blue leaps out above the background the way Cardinal red does for me. He lives in California, and our eastern Red-winged Blackbird is entirely different to him, as the red shoulder patch is almost invisible but the yellow margin (absent in the California birds) stands out. And of course for him the Western Tanager is a far more dramatic bird than our Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, which are just dark drab hard-to-see things.

Bill Pulliam
Hohenwald TN
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