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Here is Peter Pyle's interesting response on the owl:

Agree, female, and it can probably be aged A4Y or older based on the molt pattern. At least two generations of primaries and secondaries can be seen (best in 9519) and it looks like the outer 3-4 primaries are newer on the right wing and the outer 2 primaries are newer on the left wing. Since the molt starts with p7 and this feather is older it would take at least two molts (probably more) to reach this pattern and thus A4Y. A similar case could be made for s4-s5 appearing older than adjacent secondaries, and that none of the primaries or secondaries appear juvenal indicates that she is likely A6Y or older. At this point, the amount of black indicates female, and I also find that females are stockier and bigger-headed looking than males.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Linda Williams <[log in to unmask]>
Date: December 7, 2011 5:25:56 PM CST
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Snowy Owl, Smithville Lake, age/sex quiz

MOBIRDERS,

Here's an aging/sexing quiz for you if you would like to try your hand on one of the Smithville Snowy Owls.  Photos of the owl have been sent to guru Peter Pyle and we have his speedy response confirming what Mark Robbins deduced on the owl.  The photos sent are at the following link and I will post Mr. Pyle's response tomorrow evening after you have had time to think it over!  No giving away the answer if you already know!

http://gallery.me.com/lkwilliams1#100228&bgcolor=black&view=grid

Linda Williams
Liberty, Clay County, MO
[log in to unmask]


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