the ultimate birdQUIZ
Being a licensed bird bander requires you to not only know your birds but ultimately collected the data in the most scientific way possible. That includes being 100% sure about the species that you are banding or you are required to release the bird without a band on it. This is something as a bander that you would rarely want happening!! A fellow Bird Bander (and Western New Yorker) David Junkin captured this very unique bird that he couldn’t identify. He was stumped after reviewing the many field guides and other resources available to him. He took many measurements, photographs (every angle) and then released the unbanded bird without knowing if he would capture it again.
He continued researching this bird and casually sent an email to a few of the list servs on what other birders might have thought this warbler could have been (the email). I remember so many in-depth discussions of what kind of hybrid this could have been and who might have been its parents? I had heard everything from Common Yellowthroat to Blue-headed Vireo, to Canada Warbler, ect.. it was crazy for a while with all the guesses. Then the discussion stopped and it has been almost a year before seeing this warbler again on Birdchasers blog!! I followed the link that he provided and learned that they finally identified its parents!! I then did a google blog search on the bird and came across the artist who had done a painting of the Junkin’s Warbler. It was interesting to read how she was able to take the photos and turn them into a painting for Cornell Lab of Ornithology!
Going back in time, David did capture this bird for a second time and pulled two tail feathers for some DNA testing by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology!! They have a wonderful article on the testing of this mystery bird. If you are wondering who might its parents be, you can get the answer by clicking this link | HERE |! It is amazing what you can learn from DNA and without doing this testing, we never could have figured out who its “TRUE” parents really are! It is hard to believe but you are looking at real science here!! I believe the lab reported that this is the first ever documentation of these two species hybridizing together.
What is great is that this bird will always be known as the Junkin’s Warbler. How many friends do you know with bird named after them??