Thank you to Juliet Lamb, whose mother, Diana originally found this bird. Juliet suggested that Bird A was most likely a Ring-necked Pheasant female, and even double-checked the wing chord of the specimen, which also matches the species. And our database manager, Megan Hines, sent us a link to a very cool site run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Their feather atlas is a very thorough resource that’s worth checking out if you’re stumped by a bird on your beach, or in your backyard for that matter. Based on a review of that site, Megan concurred with Juliet. And I do as well. Bird A definitely looks good for a Ring-necked Pheasant.
Bird B continues to confound even the most educated and seasoned Seanetter. Adding to the confusion, similar specimens have been seen all over the world, and appear to include both free-living, wild populations and domesticated individuals (see photo).
Though clearly not the same species, but potentially of the same genus, two birds with similar plumage were discovered on a beach in Maine this year and included in an earlier Dead Bird Quiz.
In any case, Juliet Lamb probably summed this case up best, writing, “I have no idea, but I’m awfully fond of it.”