First of all I'm not offended by anything said but appreciate your honesty and kind words. I view my collection not as an "I've got something you don't" but as a hall of memories. My best friend was killed in Nam, my mentor passed away a few years ago and I find solace looking at certain birds and remembering better times and good friends. I can tell you who I was with and which dog retrieved most every bird in my collection. I take great pride in that I mounted most of them and am equally proud of the fine World Calss taxidermists represented by some of the birds I killed that they mounted for me. Many of my two son's first are in my room and I celebrate their success by viewing them while remembering boots too big, clothes not fitting and runny noses as they struggled against the cold years ago. That's what it all about to me. When I set out to collect all of North America it wasn't for bragging rights or anything like that, it was for the personal satisfaction of accomplishing something I wanted to do to see the country and meet new friends. Right now I think my friends outnumber my enemies and I'm working each day to keep it that way. Seeing the look on a young hunter's face when handing them their first duck is very rewarding to me now and giving them a band retrieved by my dog is more of a thrill for me than me killing one. It's all about perception.
In answering some recent questions, yes, I have several leucistic(which is one of several color mutations) birds and true albinos are extremely rare as said before. I've mounted an albino Greenwinged Teal, Canada Goose and Red-winged Blackbird for clients, but never killed one myself. Thought I had one several years ago when I shot a white Mallard out of a flock in Arkansas, but she didn't have pink eyes. Close with the pale washed out yellowish feet though, but she had brown eyes. I've killed a leucistic Mallard, Northern Pintail, Yellow-billed Pintail, Ruddy Duck and my oldest son even shot a leucistic Starling at our camp-house last year knowing what it was and thinking I'd like to have it in our collection. I've also mounted leucistic Gadwall and Greenwings for clients too. Leucistic birds are more common if you can call it that, but still not a dime a dozen. Hybrids, on the other hand, who knows? I've seen Cinnamon/Bluewings breasted out in Mexico, Mallard/Pintails laying on picking house floors in Arkansas and hunters with hybrids strapped by the necks several times. I shot a Gadwall/Shoveler a couple of years ago out of a flock of Spoons in Sinaloa, Mexico because I knew it was something different. Luck is an improtant part in getting anything you're after, but I look for the un-obvious and pay attention and have ever since I let a flock of Shovelers fly through my decoys in Arkansas unscathed, as we don't normally shoot them, only to realize one was a Shoveler/Bluewing, albeit too late. My oldest son and I knew a decoying goose was a hybrid by the sound he was making some years ago. I remember Patrick saying he could make up his mind to call like a Blue or a Speck, he was some of each. I often wonder how many hybrids are over looked. It seems like Brewer's Ducks are getting more common in our area now and I think it's due to the increase in Gadwall numbers in Mallard areas, but who knows for sure. They are the number one hybrid I take in now.
This albino Greenwing I mounted was killed by a young boy that thought it was a "Little Unusual!"
Helping waterfowl make bad decisions since 1961.