I dun gone and dun it! - I went to the ROM and checked out the skins. One major highlight was checking out the Long Point Carolina Chickadee from 18 May 1983!!!! I'm sure you can figure out why...
Here it is! -
Looks like a Carolina Chickadee to me?! - I had recently been sent a copy of Parkes 1988 paper on the skin (Ontario Birds) and was surprised to see he changed to subspecies to the northerly one! (published as the southerly in the OBRC report). Made a HUGE difference in my books!
These skins always seem to be a bit of a mess, so one couldn't tell delicate features like the bib size/shape (proven to be remarkably variable within single individuals when using photos) - but overall it was awesome to see. I wanted to check the shade difference between the greater coverts (centres) between Carolina and Black-capped while I was there - listed as black in BCCH and gray in CACH in the new Crossley Guide. When using the skins, it proved to be useless.
Another major item on my "to-do" list was CACH tails! We identified it as a problem that our Pelee bird showed white edges to the outer rects. Online photo proved otherwise, and the skins reinforced this. Northerly CACH often show white edges - including the Long Point Bird (seen near the base of the tail here). It is NOT a problem with CACH!
In fact, this bird (all images of the Long Point bird) actually look considerably WORSE (in my opinion) for Carolina than the bird we photographed at Pelee... Don't get me wrong, I believe it's a Carolina - I just think its noteworthy that this bird looks "more" BCCH-ish than ours. Note the colourful sides in the above photo! Our bird had virtually no colour left (CACH is less colourful than BCCH).
Also (continued from the above note) - the greater coverts actually showed more pale edging than our Pelee bird as well (which is very low contrast and gray) - another feature that is more BCCH-ish...
A few more photos:
Below - two Carolina Chickadee skins showing LOTS of white tail edging...
Below - the Long Point Carolina Chickadee (below) a very pale female Black-capped Chickadee (also from May at Long Point) -
The same Black-capped Chickadee (as above) - shown below, with the greater coverts revealed... They show bold white edging, showing the dramatic difference between the two species... All BCCH and CACH skins at the ROM showed this difference.