Date: 7/24/17 8:06 pm From: Edmund LeGrand (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> Subject: Dowitcher response to recording: why not diagnostic?
In the discussion of the dowitcher at Lake Osceola, Henderson County, NC (see attached postings below), I have to wonder why the following behavior was not considered diagnostic for Long-billed Dowitcher: "I played the tape for Short-billed with no reaction from the bird. I then played the tape for Long-billed and the bird immediately took flight and circled 3 times overhead before settling back down on the mudflat."
Wow! That's pretty amazing behavior if it's anything like I envision. I've had similar dramatic responses, the best being for birds that were out of range at the time, i.e. far away from others of their species. One of the best examples was hearing a Western Meadowlark in east Tennessee in the winter and picking it out from the other meadowlarks by playing the song--this bird (and no others) immediately flew up and around and perched in a nearby tree, clearing searching for the singing bird. Another memorable instance was a very early American Pipit in Tennessee in September that I thought I heard in the distance. Similarly, that bird flew right in and circled several times looking for the source of the song, actively searching even after I left it. In both cases I had the impression that the birds were desperate for companionship, and I felt bad for disappointing the birds. (No I'm not anthropomorphizing, I'm ornithopsyching.) While I often get wintering pipits to come to recordings, it's never been this dramatic or persistent a response. There have been other non-breeding-season responses to recordings that have been especially pronounced for out-of-range individuals. By this standard, the dramatic response of a lone(ly) Long-billed Dowitcher fits the bill.
Yes, there is often cross-species interest in calls (besides the obvious multi-species response to alarm calls), but I've never come across strong responses to the "wrong" calls of the type described by Wayne.
Edmund LeGrand Cumberland Co., TN
From: Harry LeGrand <hlegrandjr...> To: Wayne Forsythe <wforsythe...> Cc: Carolina Birds <carolinabirds...>, "<emas...>" < <emas...> Bcc: Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2017 15:03:31 -0400 Subject: Re: Henderson Cty, NC Lake Osceola "For the record", a July date would strongly hint at Short-billed Dowitcher, not Long-billed. Short-billed is the early fall migrant of the two, mainly in July, August, and early September. Long-billed is notoriously late, mainly in September and October, sparingly in August inland.
As there is no known record of Long-billed Dowitcher for the entire mountain province in NC, not just Henderson County, it is very important to get this bird correctly identified and verified (by the records committee).
Harry LeGrand Raleigh
On Sun, Jul 23, 2017 at 1:29 PM, Wayne Forsythe <wforsythe...> wrote:
> Folks, About 11:15 am Ron Selvey called me to report a Dowitcher at Lake > Osceola. Upon my arrival we put a scope on the bird who was feeding on a > mud flat. While the bird is pretty colorful, the face was very pale with a > prominent white stripe over the the eye. I took several digiscoped > pictures, from a pretty good distance so who knows if any will be > diagnostic. Prior to leaving, I played the tape for Short-billed with no > reaction from the bird. I then played the tape for Long-billed and the bird > immediately took flight and circled 3 times overhead before settling back > down on the mudflat. While not diagnostic, I think based on the early date > and response to the playback, it may in fact be a Long-billed Dowitcher. I > believe this could be a first record for Henderson Cty. if it proves to be > the latter! > The bird is feeding on the longest mudflat, in the middle of what's > left of the lake,in front of the White House with the tower under > construction. > Wayne >