Date: 11/2/17 10:53 am
From: Bart Deferme <bdeferme...>
Subject: Re: [cobirds] Foothills birds continue to push East
Hi David,

You dismissed my observations like a Sharp-shinned Hawk on a European
Starling. My post wasn't intended as a rare bird alert, nor did I submit it
as having any scientific relevance. Many people here have pointed out that
they had unexpected backyard visitors like Steller's Jays, Mountain
Chickadees or other species typically associated with the foothills at
their (sub)urban feeders. It was in that same vein that I commented on two
new yard birds. For what it's worth, it is a fact that I've never seen
either species in my neighborhood before. I can hear and identify most
residents at Quincy Reservoir from my house. We have junipers and other
berry bearing trees here. Never have I heard the song or the call of a
Solitaire here. Never before have I had a Pine Siskin at my (very active)
feeders. If someone in my neighborhood had posted these observations
instead of me, I would have been quite happy with them; it would have been
relevant to me.

When I look at the maps for Colorado for both species I reported, for all
years in October (see below), I see many records west of my location, as
expected. Between Quincy Reservoir and Kansas? A handful at best. Maybe I'm
misinterpreting the maps or maybe my observations are irrelevant? If so, I
won't lose any sleep over it because I am not a Cornell scientist. I'm just
a local birder who noticed - for me - exciting new birds, and whose
untrained eye sees that excitement reflected in the species maps.

As a citizen scientist, I submit my observations in eBird so that
professionals at Cornell can draw scientific conclusions from a large data
set. Our collective impression that foothills birds are moving east is a
fun but scientifically irrelevant hypothesis from local birders. I've
certainly enjoyed people's contributions to that conversation. As amateurs,
we're not equipped to draw conclusions about if and why species show
different patterns. Maybe it's weather. Maybe it's climate. Maybe it's
habitat changes. Maybe coincidence. It's not my job to explain it. All I
contribute are my observations. In my tiny slice of the eBird map of the
world, Townsend's Solitaire and Pine Siskin are not regular - especially
not in October.

As a side note: I spend my professional life as a digital user experience
consultant. In that capacity, I always caution clients that any digital
asset lives or dies by the contributions of its user community. I've
really enjoyed people's posts on COBirds, whether they were in-depth
technical posts from experts ("Why are there so many Painted Ladies"), rare
bird alerts ("Crested Caracara is still at First Creek"), or very casual,
anecdotal backyard observations with a personal touch ("Robins are drinking
at my bird bath all day long"). I love all of it. The latter may actually
be my favorite, because you can't find these stories elsewhere.

Birding has a steep learning curve, and is intimidating to many beginners.
My concern is that these less confident or less experienced birders may see
an administrator's swift and public dismissal of casual observations like
mine as intimidating, and will be more reluctant to contribute to the forum
- and that's really bad news for any digital product.


Respectfully,

Bart Deferme
Arapahoe County

PS: I just had a new backyard visitor. It's a House Sparrow. It's relevant
to me because I'm surprised that such an abundant species has never before
made it to my feeders.




‚Äč

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 10:26 AM, David Suddjian <dsuddjian...> wrote:

> The Solitaire is regular out East fall through winter, particularly where
> there are planted junipers or other trees or shrubs with berries. I think
> the Pine Siskin is regular, as well.
>
> David Suddjian
> Littleton, CO
>
> On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 10:05 AM, Bart Deferme <bdeferme...> wrote:
>
>> Two new yard birds here at Quincy Reservoir: Pine Siskin and Townsend's
>> Solitaire. Nothing too exciting given both species' abundance in the front
>> range, but to see them this far East seems noteworthy, especially in light
>> of all the other sightings of birds more typically expected in the
>> foothills.
>>
>> Happy birding,
>>
>> Bart Deferme
>> Quincy Reservoir
>> Arapahoe County
>>
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