Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our "plumage" turns gray as we age; Birds do it the other way.

Photos and comments by Bob Levy [Club George]:

This is the first of two images that shows the gray tips on the fall otherwise bright red plumage of a Northern Cardinal. On the right side of this bird’s torso there is a “gray fringe.” On the left side there is more gray but it’s less obvious. This particular specimen by the way is Papa Castle who continues to be one of my favorite and most cooperative photographic subjects. Over the next few months that gray fringe will wear away leaving the familiar crimson color we associate with the males. I love this shot but the second image better illustrates how extensive the gray can be although my “inner photographer” compels me to point out that it is not as sharply focused as I would have liked.

This is the second shot that really illustrates the point...but it’s not of the same quality as the first. However it really shows extensive gray coloring on Papa Castle. It would be lovely if the gray on my hair wore away by the Spring but with my luck it would leave me bald.

PS from Marie:
I'll be keeping my eye out for this phenomenon, which I never noticed before. In the history of birdwatching, amateurs have always played an important role in advancing ornithological knowlege. It's what keeps us excited about the sport. Maybe Bob is onto something

PPS Be sure to click on photos to enlarge and really see the gray tips.