And Whoosh! The migrating birds return!

A strong south wind sent many beautiful birds into our area these last few days. Today our volunteers were able to capture this beautiful Brewster’s Warbler: a hybrid warbler (a golden winged warbler and a blue warbler made at least one baby)! Hybrids are VERY interesting from a scientific perspective because it means there’s still enough genetic similarity for the different species to produce viable offspring. Either there hasn’t been enough genetic change in both species OR the right genes haven’t changed yet (or maybe there’s more to this whole speciation thing than we thought). The big question is whether the hybrids have mates and make babies with either golden winged or blue warbler species OR if hybrids can make more hybrids by only mating with hybrids. If you want to fall down a fun google hole, try looking up zorses, zonkey’s and growlers/pizzlies (grizzly bear/polar bear hybrids). What an exciting day at Sand Bluff and how wonderful to contribute to the larger body of research about hybrids! We’re so grateful this bird visited us this morning!

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