Birding in British Columbia

A starting place for birding information for British Columbia, Canada. This web site features a birders discussion forum, links to birding newsgroups, articles and book reviews, checklists, regional hotspots, photo gallery, weather reports, and visiting birder information.
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 Post subject: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 22 6:52 pm 
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I was led to believe that Cassiar Junco males had brown backs and that Slate-coloured Junco males had black backs. This does not appear to be the case. ALL of the properly exposed, detailed images of SCJU males I have looked at had brownish backs! Admittedly, the brown was very dark in some birds and in certain light they looked black! I looked at hundreds of images on the web! I will no longer blindly id every Junco with grey sides & a brown back as a Cassiar [though in likelihood they probably are for the most part]

Here are 2 recent shots of Junco males taken in Abbotsford:

Image 1 is with little doubt a Cassiar [I'll call it CAJU]
ImageCassiar Junco 21s by BirderBert, on Flickr

but Image 2 with a smooth continuation of head colour onto the sides and very dark brown on the back with a smooth transition between head & back, looks like many of the SCJU pics I looked at!!
ImageCassiar Junco 20s by BirderBert, on Flickr

I am now totally confused as it seems are most of the Birding Authorities!

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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 23 6:38 am 
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I shot this bird at Burnaby Lake a few years ago and assumed it was a Slate-coloured.
Nobody called me on it, even the "expert" didn't say nada, so maybe it is..or maybe its a Cassiar, now i'm confused too :lol:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 23 9:33 am 
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Ahh the old Cassiar junco dilemma. Juncoes in general have so much variability that there is quite a bit of grey area for what we know in terms of CAJU, CAJU X ORJU, SCJU X ORJU etc. Bert, your first bird looks like a beautiful cassiar junco... as pure as we can call it anyway. It's pretty much the best you can get for that type. Your second bird is an Oregon X Slate-coloured Junco hybrid; most of the Slate-coloured in southern bc are in fact hybrids and very few are pure. This bird is definitely a hybrid, and is far more obvious than a lot of them. Paul, your bird is not a pure Cassiar, but appears to be a Slate-coloured X Cassiar hybrid, as they both breed in the Rockies.

Again, there is a lot of mystery to what actually is going ok with these birds genetically, but these are definitely the best guesses we can make.

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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 23 10:33 am 
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Thanks Logan, appreciate you chiming in :)

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292 birds B.C. / 446 birds N.A. / 1020 birds World (including NA)


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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 23 11:12 am 
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Please allow me to pick a few nits here. This confusion about junco names helps support the notion that our northern juncos all belong to the same species - the Dark-eyed Junco. Since there is only one species involved, they are not really 'hybrids', but more properly referred to as 'intergrades'. Secondly, the Cassiar Junco is named for the Cassiar Mountains, which are in northern BC, between the Coast Ranges and the Rocky Mountains, and are not part of the Rocky Mountains. Many easterners just assume that 'The Rockies' refers to all the mountains out here.
Perhaps I have managed to add to the confusion?
Rokman


Last edited by Rokman on Jan 23 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 23 1:20 pm 
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Rokman wrote:
Please allow me to pick a few nits here. This confusion about junco names helps support the notion that our northern juncos all below to the same species - the Dark-eyed Junco. Since there is only one species involved, they are not really 'hybrids', but more properly referred to as 'intergrades'. Secondly, the Cassiar Junco is named for the Cassia Mountains, which are in northern BC, between the Coast Ranges and the Rocky Mountains, and are not part of the Rocky Mountains. Many easterners just assume that 'The Rockies' refers to all the mountains out here.
Perhaps I have managed to add to the confusion?
Rokman


A little bit of confusion never hurt anybody :lol:
i always thought Cassiar were named after the tunnel? :wink:

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http://45revs.blogspot.com

Digital (photo) Life List:
292 birds B.C. / 446 birds N.A. / 1020 birds World (including NA)


Hey you kids, no pishing the Mountain chickadees!


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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 24 9:47 am 
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Cassiar tunnel! Good one revs.
Can't for the moment think of any other birds named for a tunnel. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Cassiar Junco confusion
PostPosted: Jan 24 10:34 am 
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Rokman wrote:
Cassiar tunnel! Good one revs.
Can't for the moment think of any other birds named for a tunnel. :wink:


i'm glad you appreciate my lame attempts at humour, i am always afraid that someone will take it the wrong way on this here social media thing and i will have to go into hiding again :wink:

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Paul Kusmin
http://punkbirdr.photo
http://www.flickr.com/photos/revs45
http://45revs.blogspot.com

Digital (photo) Life List:
292 birds B.C. / 446 birds N.A. / 1020 birds World (including NA)


Hey you kids, no pishing the Mountain chickadees!


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