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No bucket up yet today so I'll add this AM's observation to make this only a mostly empty bucket.

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note of any observations you have made of the world around you.  Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

Cold (40s in the AM, mid-50s now) and early rain in Tallahassee.  Looking out the window before I left home I saw a single White-throated sparrow feeding on the ground below the feeders.  To many of you this is an observation so common in the winter as to hardly be worth mentioning.  However, in my experience, WT sparrows are not common birds here in Tallahassee.  I have them on my yard list pretty much every year but generally because I hear one singing at some point.  This might be only the second time I've actually seen one in my yard.

When I lived in Illinois they were omnipresent from late fall through early spring.

This one was a tan morph bird.  The tan and white morphs of White-throated sparrows differ in the color of the striping on the top of the head.  There is a lot of fascinating biology behind these two color patterns which is nicely summarized here.  This is the abstract from a paper published 12 years ago so there is probably more information now.

Briefly the color difference is due to a chromosomal inversion (part of one chromosome has been flipped around so that the genes on it are running in the opposite direction).  The birds exhibit negative assortative mating meaning that each morph only mates with birds of the other morph.  White morph individuals of both sexes are generally more aggressive and white morph males provide less parental care and spend more time seeking extra-pair copulations than do tan morph males.  

That's it for me for today.  What's up in your neck of the woods.?

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