Thursday, February 05, 2009

Darwin's millenium finch

Caught this Redpoll in the garden today with Richard Hearn, although I extracted it I didn't look at it properly as the net contained lots of Yellowhammers (50 ringed in last two days). However when Richard measured the maximum wing length we took more of an interest !
It had a wing of 77mm, the range for Lesser Redpoll being 68-73.5 male, 67-71 female. Common Redpoll having a range of 70-78 male and 68-76 female.
As the photographs show it did have clean white wing bars and a partially frosty appearance on the mantle and rump but we hadn't fully appreciated this until measuring the wing and it is by no means a classic individual.
In this evolutionary period the bird will go down as a Common (mealy) Redpoll but if we retrap it in another couple of thousand years then its taxonomy may well have changed - such is the nature of Redpoll evolution at the present time.

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