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View Diary: A More Ancient World: The Eye of the Beholder (49 comments)

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  •  have there been experiments/observations (6+ / 0-)

    to determine how much the insentity of the red influences the success of male cardinals in breeding? To my eye, males seem to be the same color of red but perhaps to a female cardinal's eye, there is more difference among the males? My human eye/mind can understand that, in the case of the Bird of Paradise, the size of the male's tale coupled with the complexity of its dance/clicks might signal the male's genetic viability or ability to provide for chicks. But all male Cardinals look the same to simple-minded me.

    ... no one can put the ocean in their pocket ... ~ Melissa Harris-Lacewell

    by tgypsy on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 07:06:40 PM PST

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    •  There has been very extensive work (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martyc35, KenBee, tgypsy, lineatus, FarWestGirl

      on house finches (which as you've discussed earlier today are quite variable) - looking at mate choice and the influence of health, diet, etc on color.  Also looking at mate choice and color.  Redder males do tend to get more mates.  The finches are apparently easy to keep in aviaries.  I don't know of work done on cardinals - I used them as an example because of their familiarity.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 07:25:51 PM PST

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      •  That makes sense (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        martyc35, KenBee, lineatus, matching mole

        I can see the differences in House Finches. I also prefer red to yellow or orange so the female finches are obviously making the correct choice ;-)

        There's probably more to the story than color for both Cardinals and House Finches so it doesn't seem too surprising that the four hypotheses that you list in your diary haven't been sorted out yet.

        ... no one can put the ocean in their pocket ... ~ Melissa Harris-Lacewell

        by tgypsy on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 07:54:06 PM PST

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    •  I've had a look at a whole lot of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, tgypsy, lineatus, matching mole

      fox sparrows in my yard recently, and they are extremely varied in patterning, although very similar in color. They seem to have a pretty good range in size as well. I would never think that all fox sparrows look alike. I found myself agreeing with your comments this morning on the house finches, too. Those in my yard, the males, are quite red, although one does look orange on my orange feeder.  

      "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

      by martyc35 on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 07:45:31 PM PST

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    •  I don't know of any (6+ / 0-)

      research on the effect of color difference in cardinals -- but I've definitely seen the differences.  When I lived in NC and would routinely have 4-5 regular daily feeder visitors, I could tell them apart based on several characteristics, one of which was the intensity of the red.  (I actually observed even more variation in the female coloring.)  

      In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people!

      by cardinal on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 07:56:59 PM PST

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