Last January, I posted a Hoary Redpoll candidate in my "Entering the Hoary vs. Common Redpoll Debate" post. So here I am just a little more than a year later posting a candidate for this year's winter finch debate: the green morph Pine Siskin. (click on images to enlarge)
I first heard about the green morph on the Stokes Birding Blog in their January post "Green-morph Pine Siskin" Like everyone else, I had plenty of siskins around all winter, including this bad boy flashing lots of yellow that I posted earlier in my "Before the Siskins Leave" post.
Having learned that only 1% of siskins are green morph, I knew the chances were low, but of course I kept looking. The siskin numbers have tapered off but I'm still seeing between 8 and 15 each day. Then on Sunday, a more colorful siskin caught my eye on my Eliminator feeder. The bird had a yellow/greenish wash from the top of the head and all the way down the back.
Some green morph identifying characteristics as stated in the Stokes' post:
- Big, yellow, greater coverts on the wing and yellow at the base of the primary feathers.
- undertail coverts of the green-morph Pine Siskin on the right are yellow, not white.
- More yellow on wing, side of nape, flank and often undertail coverts and the backs may appear greenish.
A couple other bloggers have posted possible green morph siskins this winter as well. Check out their posts:
- Geoff Malosh Photography - Possible "Green morph" Pine Siskin, Allegheny County
- Boreal Bird Blog - One in a Hundred
- Behind the Bins - Odd Yellow Pine Siskin
- Willow House Chronicles - Green-morph Pine Siskins
Also out there for review is a 1989 American Birds article comparing green morph siskins to Eurasian Siskins.
I did not see, note or document the underside or undertail coverts on the suspect bird, so that key characteristic is lacking. Regardless, what do YOU think? Is it a green morph? All opinions welcome!