Comments re Tricolored Blackbirds

From: Tom & Jo Heindel
Date: 5/7/00
Time: 5:25:59 PM
Remote Name:


Inyo County has 9 records all of individual birds from 13 March to 8 June. All were males which attests to the difficulty of identifying females. Mono County record keeper Emilie Strauss reports no documented records exist for the county. Our local Redwings vary greatly in the amount of yellow in the median secondary upper wing coverts. Some individuals appear so pale as to look white to the naked eye but when viewed with binocs or when held in the hand while banding one can see the palest of yellow washing the “white”. Many visitors and researchers (wildlife biologists and PhDs) from out of the area are unaware of the status and distribution of the birds of the eastern Sierra; this leads to numerous reports of Purple Finches, Gray Vireos, Sandhill Cranes, etc. which are casual (not reliably reported every year) on this side of the Sierra. Many are misled by Small’s BIRDS OF CALIFORNIA (1994) and Zeiner, Laudenslayer, Jr., Mayer, & White’s CALIFORNIA’S WILDLIFE, Vol II, Birds (1990) whose accounts of eastern Sierra species are often erroneous. Chris Howard was correct in pointing out a possible mis-identification as this is one of the species too often reported by people from other regions. This sighting should be confirmed by others and detailed documentation should be submitted to Emilie Strauss for consideration as a first record for Mono County and for submission to the journal North American Birds. Readers are reminded that all items posted here and on other birding bulletin boards are only public announcements of what an observer thought he/she saw. Posted sightings are not documented records. One should not assume that all postings are correct identifications. NONE [including ours :-)] have suffered the rigors of peer review. The observer is responsible for submitting detailed documentation to the county coordinators that eliminates all similar species.