By Geoffrey E. Hill

This can be an account of experiences of the functionality and evolution of colourful plumage in the home Finch. it's also a fascinating learn at the evolution of sexual choice in birds and a full of life portrait of the demanding situations and constraints of experimental layout dealing with any box investigator operating with animal habit. half I units the degree for contemporary stories of the functionality of plumage shade with a evaluation of the 19th and starting of the 20th centuries. half II makes a speciality of the proximate regulate and current functionality of plumage colour. half III takes a extra explicitly evolutionary method of the learn of plumage colour utilizing biogeography and phylogeny to check hypotheses for why particular varieties of plumage colour show have developed. It concludes with an account of comparative experiences which have been performed in the home Finch and different cardueline finches and the perception those reports have supplied at the evolution of carotenoid-based decorative coloration.

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Extra resources for A Red Bird in a Brown Bag: The Function and Evolution of Colorful Plumage in the House Finch (Oxford Ornithology Series)

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The male and female of a pair also drive off female intruders, so a female can only pair with a male if he chooses to pair with her. Thus, pairing in the House Finch is a cooperative venture driven by mutual mate choice (see chapter 9). Like any cooperative venture, though, it is not without its conflicts. I've always been struck by how closely the mating system of House Finches parallels the mating system of humans. Just as in humans, the duration of pair bonds in House Finches can last from days to years.

Physical Characteristics General Appearance House Finches are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females differ in physical characteristics. More specifically, they are sexually dichromatic, meaning that males and female differ in coloration. Females are drab, cryptically colored songbirds. They have brown to gray coloration on their dorsal surfaces and dirtywhite plumage with heavy gray/brown streaks on their undersides. Novice bird watchers often have a difficult time identifying female House Finches because they have no bright colors or bold patterns to distinguish them easily from a dozen other cryptically colored species with more or less similar plumage markings.

I found this to be the ideal way to hold small birds temporarily. Many banders use cloth sacks or portable wooden boxes to hold birds temporarily. Both of these techniques, however, have many disadvantages. Cloth sacks hold the bird in an uncomfortable and stressful position. When fully opened, brown paper bags have a flat bottom and create a space in which a finch can stand upright in a comfortable position. Most banders use cloth bags or wooden boxes for several or many birds before washing them, which undoubtedly leads to the transmission of parasites.

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