House Finch

18 May 2010 06:35 - 18 May 2010 06:36 #383 by Andy Musgrove
House Finch was created by Andy Musgrove
Following requests from BUBO Listers (who shall remain nameless - you know who you are!), House Finch has been added as a "pending" species to the BOU, Britain & Ireland, and Birdwatch base-lists. Birders who made the trip down to Land's End to see the grotty yellow thing can now add it to their lists, should they so wish. However, be warned that once (OK, if) the BOU reject this record then it will be removed from BUBO, along with any associated records.

Joking aside, there is a range of opinion on this bird, and whilst its credentials don't immediately seem all that promising for acceptance as Britain's first House Finch, the case is not quite as clear-cut as it might seem. It has certainly generated a lot of interesting discussion on moult, plumage pigments, migratory behaviour and ship assistance.

As BUBO doesn't pass judgement on records, who are we to say whether you can or can't tick it? Add it to your lists, if your conscience allows....!
Last edit: 18 May 2010 06:36 by Andy Musgrove.

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18 May 2010 20:50 #384 by David Bradnum
Replied by David Bradnum on topic Re:House Finch
Sounds fair enough, Andy.

As for whether the requesters remain nameless or not... the beauty of BUBO is that we can all see who's been desperate dedicated enough to make a recent trip to Cornwall!

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25 May 2010 03:46 #385 by John Martin
Replied by John Martin on topic Re:House Finch
I guess no-one wants to express any views on this bird , hence the lack of posts. As a good mate found it, and discussed the ID with me and a visiting Steve Howell (good timing) I went to see it. I expect BOU will not accept it as their current rules on ship assistance, if I understand them correctly, mean only birds that they feel could cross the pond under their own steam will be admitted to the British list. Not very likely in this case.

Personally I would be happy to tick a wild bird, with the sense to stow away rather than drowning, which made an amazing journey. No-one wants to tick an escaped cage bird. Yellow House Finches seem to be commonly in trade. Equally they do occur with some frequency in the wild, but in a distinct minority. The timing and location could not be much better for a ship assisted bird. So who knows?

By the way the yellow pigment in some males is not solely caused by dietary problems as has been stated elsewhere recently. It can also be due to moult timing (Howell, in press!) and apparently pathology (which will perhaps be mentioned in a BW piece on the critter).

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27 May 2010 05:15 #386 by Phil Jeffrey
Replied by Phil Jeffrey on topic Re:House Finch
Yellow (or yellow-orange) House Finches are still rare, not merely uncommon, in the House Finch population in the eastern USA. They appear to be much less rare in some populations in the western USA, whatever the reasons for it. So you have an unlikely event (ship-assisted vagrant) combined with a highly unlikely color variation. Not a very promising probability.

Phil
NJ, USA

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13 Jun 2010 06:23 #394 by John Martin
Replied by John Martin on topic Re:House Finch
The Birding World (June 2010) write-up of the House Finch is well worth a look.

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