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January 2008

VTBIRD@LIST.UVM.EDU

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From:
Dayle Ann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Mon, 28 Jan 2008 17:51:25 -0500
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June Schulte wrote: 
> Isn't "hoary" the same thing as "part albino" (as in hoarfrost)?

No-- they are different things. "Hoary" means whitish or grey, and the
hoary redpoll is paler than the common, especially on the underparts, to the
point that streaking may not be visible at all. They are different species,
and haorys are not common here in Vermont, which is outside its normal
winter range according to Sibley. I used to see them on an irregular basis
in winter mixed flocks in the western mountains

Albinism is something else: it means an absence of pigment that would
normally be there. Cynthia's redpoll actually looks more like it may be a
common redpoll with some albinism on the head and chest. The reason I think
that might be the case is the absence of the blackish chin and the presence
of the streaking low on the belly, which I would not expect to see in a
haory. Mind you, I am not an expert, but I do pay attention to the birds
I'm in a position to become familiar with (which are still mostly western
birds). I'll be interested in what the local experts have to say-- they may
have a different take on this than mine.

BTW, as you surmise, "hoarfrost" is so-called because it is frost that is
deposited from moisture in the air (common in cold foggy areas), making
everything look whitish, almost ghostly, sometimes ethereal like a fantasy
world. It's neat.

Dayle Ann, transplanted Westerner.
Brandon

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