Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Deformed bills on Minnesota birds

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird biology Updated: February 24, 2014 - 3:48 PM

A few days ago I wrote about a Black-capped Chickadee with a severly deformed bill. The bird had been seen and photographed at a feeder in Maple Grove. At that time I knew of no other such sightings here. Caroline Van Hemert, biologist in Alaska with the U.S. Geological Survey, in answer to a question, wrote to say that there have been several other reports from Minnesota. They include three more chickadees, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Hairy Woodpecker. Thousands of birds with deformed bills have been seen in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Van Hemert wrote of a few reports from the northeastern U.S. and Canada, mostly of nuthatches and woodpeckers, and a smalller number of chickadees. There is no known cause. Ongoing studies hope to identity the problem.

Information on this condition can be found at http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/biology/landbirds/beak_deformity/index.html

Here again in the photo of the Maple Grove bird.

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