Date: 11/14/17 9:45 am From: Gregory Hanisek via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: [CT Birds] Reporting Red Crossbills
I'm providing the message below from Marshall Iliff primarily for eBird users, but it's of interest to anyone who has been keeping up (or trying to) with the evolving efforts to understand the complex Red Croassbill situation in North America. Greg Hanisek Waterbury
There is currently an historic Red Crossbill irruption under way in North America, with birds already showing up this fall in far-flung places, out of range, out of habitat, and in enormous numbers.
Identifying the various flight call types (see http://ebird.org/content/ ebird/news/crossbills-of-north-america-species-and-red-crossbill-call-types/ ) typically requires audio recordings and spectrograms. Although a few birders perhaps can manage to separate the birds to type by ear only, these records generally should not meet the standards for validation, especially since we are still working out the distribution of the forms and since each irruption can have different compositions of the types.
Given the magnitude of this year's irruption, and the difficulty in identifying the birds by ear alone, we ask reviewers to remind observers that Red Crossbill observations without audio recordings should be left as simply ‘Red Crossbill’ and not determined to flight call type.
In the absence of these audio recordings, we encourage observers to include a suggestion about putative flight call type in the notes section. Please also review past records of Red Crossbill identified to type: if they have past notes from Matt confirming the ID, and/or a spectrogram uploaded also confirming the ID, there's no need to review (although we still encourage them to upload the recording if they still have it). If they don't provide any documentation confirming the ID, please encourage the observer to add documentation or change to Red Crossbill (without identification to type). Please treat the record as "Documentation--Inadequate" if it is identified to type and not documented.
As a reminder, crossbills cannot be reliably typed on the basis of photographs alone, as there is much overlap in bill sizes.
*IMPORTANT: *Since "typing" Red Crossbills from audio recordings is very difficult we have added Matt Young and Tim Spahr (authors of the above article on crossbill call types) as reviewers for the US and Canada. They will be focusing on Red Crossbill records only, and primarily only those with audio recordings. However, you should expect to see some of their reviews occasionally in your region as they follow up on Red Crossbill reports. If you have any concerns about this please get in touch with us at eBird Central or with Matt (<may6...>) or Tim (<tspahr44...>) directly.