In the course of my junco specimen bill measuring – I’ve measured 561 so far – I’ve handled ratty specimens and fine ones, old and not-quite-so-old. (Most of the specimens are from before 1950, so they’re all fairly old.) It’s fun to see how much variation there is even among individuals from the same subspecies and the same state. Here are my three favorite specimens:
1862! That’s Civil War times. That’s several months before the Emacipation Proclamation. When this junco lived in San Diego, San Diego had been part of the US for less than 20 years.
Her bill was pretty average, though.