red-billed "crow"

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cube182764

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Sep 18, 2022, 6:23:21 PMSep 18
to Maryland & DC Birding
Looking for guidance...
While walking with a friend last week in the general area of New Hampshire and Cresthaven in Silver Spring, we casually noted what seemed to be a "crow" with a red bill. No bins, no camera, and in a hurry, so went on thinking it was an illusion or a mutation (like an albino squirrel). My friend just notified me of a second sighting in the same area today. The only bird I can find is the non-US red-billed chough which has no Maryland sightings in ebird. I am assuming if that is the bird, it is an escapee.  Any thoughts? A different bird?

Stan Smith

Phil Davis

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Sep 18, 2022, 7:26:58 PMSep 18
to MDbirding
Hi Stan:

[Red-billed Chough is one of my favorite birds!]

Was the bird flying or perched? The turned-down bill shape is
distinctive vs a crow.

Also, the red legs of a Red-billed Chough should be pretty obvious
... were it to be that highly unlikely species (no North American records) ...

Hard to imagine that a zoo would keep a chough, but ...

A cell phone image should be able to tell the tale ...

FYI ... There is an isolated colony of RB Choughs in the Canary
Islands ... on La Palma ... the same island as the volcano ..
actually in the fields just below the volcano ... possible displacement?

Phil
===================================================
Phil Davis, Secretary
MD/DC Records Committee
2549 Vale Court
Davidsonville, Maryland 21035 USA
web: https://mdbirds.org/records-committee/
email: pda...@ix.netcom.com
phone: 301-261-0184
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world oceans

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Sep 18, 2022, 7:58:34 PMSep 18
to Phil Davis, MDbirding
Fascinating sighting and discussion! Good points, Phil.....one proviso is that choughs often hang around in tall weeds and grass, which combined with the black feathering at the top of their legs, can occasionally make the legs impossible to see. I have noticed that on choughs in France and Italy. 

They are, I believe, housed in at least a few aviaries in the UK so I imagine there may be some in zoos here in the US. Finally, the Canary Islands are pretty far away...on the other hand, there have been several hurricane-strength systems blowing across the Atlantic from Africa recently.......nothing is impossible!
Cool stuff!

James Gibson, ex-Montgomery County
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Phil Davis

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Sep 19, 2022, 1:07:04 PMSep 19
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Hi Jim:

Any volcano-displaced RB Chough (again, highly unlikely, I think) from the Canary Islands may have had up to a year to wander. The La Palma volcano erupted on Sep 19, 2021, during last year's hurricane season, and ceased on Dec 14, 2021. This year's hurricane season has been a total bust, until just recently.

Also, just out of curiosity I checked the ZIMS database of species held in zoos and other institutions: North America has no RB Choughs registered in captivity; Asia has 3 birds in two zoos, and Europe has 152 birds held in 21 institutions (zoos, parks, and sanctuaries).

Fun to speculate ...

Phil



At 19:58 09/18/2022, James Gibson wrote:
Fascinating sighting and discussion! Good points, Phil.....one proviso is that choughs often hang around in tall weeds and grass, which combined with the black feathering at the top of their legs, can occasionally make the legs impossible to see. I have noticed that on choughs in France and Italy.

They are, I believe, housed in at least a few aviaries in the UK so I imagine there may be some in zoos here in the US. Finally, the Canary Islands are pretty far away...on the other hand, there have been several hurricane-strength systems blowing across the Atlantic from Africa recently.......nothing is impossible!
Cool stuff!

world oceans

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Sep 19, 2022, 1:18:45 PMSep 19
to Phil Davis, MDbirding
Hi Phil, Thanks for 
mentioning that database...I had been wondering where one could most easily check out the zoo collections! 

Jim

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