News & Informative updates about the MPFN, the Environment and Local Nature Stories

Important News!

Our Mission

To study and
appreciate nature.
To protect and preserve wildlife
and the environment.
To stimulate public interest in,
and promote protection
and preservation of nature.

Who we are

The Midland Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Club (MPFNC) is one of the oldest affiliates of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The objective of the Club is to promote public awareness of natural history, conservation and the environment. We feature lectures by expert naturalists on a range of fascinating topics at our monthly meetings. We also schedule  outings (field trips) and nature study.

We meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month, 7:30 PM at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre No meeting in December, July or August.  Our June meeting is held at Tiny Marsh.

For a printable shedule of meetings & events click: MPFN 2019 2020 Season Brochure

The MPFNC is involved in many projects in the area including the Christmas Bird Count as well as environmental and wildlife surveys, the Tiny Marsh BioBlitz and the Sweet Water Harvest at the Wye Marsh. The club also supports the Owl Foundation at the Christmas Bird Count Potluck Wrap-up at the Wye Marsh. This year we raised $300 for the Owl Foundation of Vineland through our famous Mystery Gift Not-So-Silent Auction.

Strange but Beautiful BirdThere is a strange but beautifully coloured Evening Grosbeak showing up at Bonnie Pauze's feeders in Tiny Township, Ontario, Canada. These videos were taken by Mary Rajapakse on Nov. 24, 2022.Our first diagnosis was leucism, An animal condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes (caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin). (Wikpedia)Ron Tozer, the Algonquin Park bird authority, had a look at Deepthie's photos and suggested xanthochromism.From Wikipedia: note that Evening Grosbeak is one of the species listed below.Xanthochromism (also called xanthochroism or xanthism) is an unusually yellow pigmentation in an animal. It is often associated with the lack of usual red pigmentation and its replacement with yellow. The cause is usually genetic but may also be related to the animal's diet. A Cornell University survey of unusual-looking birds visiting feeders reported that 4% of such birds were described as xanthochromistic (compared with 76% albinistic). The opposite of xanthochromism, a deficiency in or complete absence of yellow pigment, is known as axanthism.Birds exhibiting genetic xanthochromism, especially deliberately bred mutations of several species of parrot in aviculture, are termed "lutinos". Wild birds in which xanthochromism has been recorded include yellow wagtail, wood warbler, Cape May warbler, rose-breasted grosbeak, evening grosbeak, red-bellied woodpecker, scarlet tanager, northern cardinal, great spotted woodpecker, common tailorbird, crimson-breasted shrike, kakariki and kea.I did a little searching on line and found this link about a similarly coloured bird in Northern Maine in the article linked above: "Looking at normally pigmented male Evening Grosbeaks, it is clear that there is an underlying yellow pigmentation to all the head, neck and belly feathers. These same feathers are suffused with dark (melanic) pigmentation but the yellow shows through, to varying degrees. The underlying pigment (yellow) is concealed by the dark pigment. The wings and tail feathers of a normal male Evening Grosbeak are primarily black with only the inner wing feathers (tertials) being white. Without melanin it would be expected that these would be white as was the case with our bird.So is this really Xanthochromism?I went back to the literature and found that a few authorities don't agree that Evening Grosbeaks like ours are xanthochromic but rather use a term non-melanic schizochroic for cases where dark pigment is missing in places and revealing normally concealed pigmentation in the feathers. This sounds like what we have here."So non-melanic schizochroic? A new term for me. What should we name this bird? Sunny? Schizo? Mellow Yellow? ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
If you missed the premiere of Loons: A Cry From the Mist on Cottage Life TV, you can watch it here: 👉 anglais) ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook

Box 393, Midland ON L4R 4L1

Follow Us