Seems to me that we had this discussion about the challenges of IDing
commons vs hoaries some time back on VTbirds. It was difficult enough then
and if anything it seems to have become more difficult now that Sibley has
raised problems about the hitherto "clincher" - the bill size and shape. My
guess is that HORE and CORE form a continuous spectrum of plumage
characteristics and that only birds at either extreme can be assigned
safely. Whether these extremes correspond to two different species is
another matter entirely (or is it just variation within a species).


Interestingly, redpolls are being reported from on listserves from all over
New England. Far as I can see, VT is the only state where HORE is being
consistently reported. Maybe Ebird can clear up whether this perception is
right or wrong.


Hector Galbraith, PhD

Climate Change and Energy Initiative

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences


p: 802 258 4836

c: 802 222 1916