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This rather pale Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus) was photographed in Fort Worth, Texas on January 20, 2001 by Martin Reid; note: the pale back with thin, somewhat diffuse dark streaking; the underparts streaking is thin on the lower flanks and very thin, blurry and indistinct on the breast-sides (the center of the breast was virtually unstreaked - i.e. what you can see in these images is the strongest streaking on the entire underparts); the very large yellow primary patch; the extremely large (but mostly whitish) patch at the base of the secondaries, exaggerating the inner part of the lower wing bar; the prominent yellow in the tail; the rather short, blunt wings, that have the tip-spacing of a PISI but with the 3 distal gaps noticeably smaller than for regular PISIs - especially the most-distal gap:

- from the shape of the outer retrices (pointed) and rather worn flight feathers, I'd say that this was a first-winter (SY in January) bird. Comparing the size with Goldfinches and matching this to the normal PISIs in my yard, I'd say this bird was not noticeably larger than my regular PISIs.

- for comparison, look at some normal PISIs:

- an adult by Bruce Mactavish (this individual has a tiny extra spacing at the wing-tip - ignore this, for the purpose of comparison to the above bird)

- the Fort Worth green-morph individual (a first-winter bird) by Martin Reid

To quote directly from Pyle "Identification Guide to North American Birds", 1997:
"Geographic Variation - Weak and differences are obscured by individual variation, probably the result of frequent mixing........
C. p. vagans (br & wint s, AK-Alb to CA-w. Tx; wanders to NY-VA):, Small (see Sex); plumage medium-pale buffy olive to whitish, with light to moderately dense, dusky streaking; yellow in flight feathers averages less extensive by age/sex.
C. p. macroptera (br & wint nc. Mex; wanders to AZ-NM):, Large; plumage pale olive to buffy-whitish, with sparse, indistinct, dusky streaking; yellow in flight feathers averages more extensive by age-sex; female wg (n10) 70-78, tl (n10) 42-49; male wg (n11) 73-80, tl (n10) 44-51.
C. p. pinus (br Sask to Nfl-n.ME, wint to s. TX-FL; wanders to WA):, Small (see Sex); plumage medium-dark brownish olive to whitish olive, with moderately dense to heavy, distinct, blackish streaking; yellow in flight feathers averages less extensive by age/sex.

Sex - female wg (n100) 66-75, tl (n100) 40-48; male wg (n100) 69-77, tl (n100) 42-50; includes the two subspecies in northern N. Am. only."

- from the above there appears to be a large range of overlap in size between the forms. Although macroptera averages longer wings, I wonder if, as a shorter-distance migrant, it has blunter wing-tips than vagans and pinus? Could this individual be the form macroptera?

As always, I would value informed comment on this page - please indicate whether your comments are to be considered private/anonymous - thank you.