I’m so glad there is a discussion on this. I noticed black on the head in some photos of the Pelican, and none in others and was wondering about molt transitions. I hadn’t taken the time to follow up on this so am glad others did. I have not been up to actually see the bird myself.
Meanwhile, I’m attempting to enter more molt details on ebird. This time of year there is quite a range of plumage characteristics. Obviously I can’t get the same detail as if I had them in the hand during a banding procedure (thanks Chris Rimmer and crew for sharing so much of your knowledge with me during the Mt Mansfield bird banding project), but at times plumage/age state it is very evident when looking at warblers, thrushes, sparrows, etc etc thru binocs. This info on ebird will add to our knowledge of dispersal of young birds, adult non-breeding etc.
My local breeding pair of Broad-winged Hawks are looking pretty dapper now. Most of their flight feathers have been replaced so I expect them to think about heading out to South America soon. It has been fun to watch them go from scruffy, overworked parents, with many gaps in their wings, to plump bodied, crisply-edged winged soaring machines once again.
Enjoy molts and migration.
> On Aug 26, 2019, at 5:12 AM, Jim Mead <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> VT birders,
> Bridget brings up a very good question. I looked at several photos of the
> pelican seen at Hen Island on July 21 & 22. They show black on the head and
> the tip end of the lower mandible. According to info found in The Sibley
> Guide to Birds, that particular look fits well for an adult summer bird
> (Jun-Aug). Then on Aug. 10th myself & others got a very long distance look
> at a pelican at Campbell Bay and noticed that it was showing no black on
> the head, which at that time I mentioned in my eBird report that it
> "suggested" that this pelican was not the same pelican as the one seen 20
> days earlier at Hen Island. I did a bit more research recently using The
> Sibley Guide again and saw that an adult non breeding bird (Sep-Feb) shows
> no black on the head or at the tip end of the lower mandible. Thus, the
> transition from adult summer plumage to adult non breeding plumage
> "appears" to occur during the months of July & August. On Aug. 24th, Henry
> Trombley & I saw the pelican at Campbell Bay from a canoe and saw that it
> had very little black showing on the head and no black seen on the tip end
> of the lower mandible.
> Now, because 20 days (pretty much 3 weeks) had passed between the two
> sightings (July 21-Aug 10), it seems "possible" to me that the bird seen at
> Hen Island "could" have had enough time to loose most of its' black
> markings. I am certainly no expert at determining that info so I cannot say
> for sure if that is true. However, it does seem (again-"possible") that the
> pelican seen at both locations "could" be the same bird.
> It would be interesting to read others opinions on this.
> Enjoy Birds,
> Jim Mead
> On Sun, Aug 25, 2019 at 6:48 PM Bridget Butler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Greetings All!
>> At Birds & Beers VT the other night we got talking about the American White
>> Pelican sightings. We were in the Islands so many folks who had come out to
>> join us had seen the bird and some had taken photos. We had a mix of folks
>> who had seen a pelican at the Hen Island site, the Campbell Bay site or
>> After a bit, we got to talking about whether there were two birds or one
>> bird that had possibly molted. So we started comparing photos from the Hen
>> Island bird and the Campbell Bay bird. We used the Islander newspaper photo
>> <http://bit.ly/2U21Nq0>s by David Marsch (Hen) and then Juli Filberti's
>> photos <http://bit.ly/33Xz1eH> she got from a kayak (Campbell).
>> So, here's our question that was left unanswered as we all used our phones
>> to try to look up info on molting for this species and decipher the molting
>> explanation on Birds of North America Online...IS IT THE SAME BIRD?
>> David's photos show black on the back of the head while Julie's do not.
>> Please explain why or why not as we were all trying to grapple with the
>> timing of molting for this species and whether or not enough time had
>> elapsed between when the bird was seen on Hen Island and then when it was
>> found again in Campbell Bay.
>> Thanks for playing along & helping us extend our Birds and Beers
>> *Bridget Butler*
>> *Bird Diva Consulting*
>> *PO Box 613*
>> *St. Albans VT 05478*
>> *(802) 393-4147*
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