Date: 12/6/18 6:14 pm
From: Jamie Simmons <sapsuckers...>
Subject: [obol] Re: "Rare" Song Sparrows in Oregon - photos requested in eBird
Russ and Obol,

Once again I stuck my neck out on OBOL, was wrong, but also learned from it.
Russ nicely pointed out (privately) that the bird I photographed (in is of the expected subspecies,
merrilli/montana, for that area (Malheur).
Obviously I lack(ed) knowledge of Oregon Song Sparrow subspecies!
In comparing Sheila's bird to mine, the differences seem subtle except for
the relative boldness of the red streaking on the breast of my bird.

Which leads me to: What are good resources for learning the expected and
not so expected Oregon subspecies by field marks?
Sibley seems lacking.
The sparrow book by Jim Rising, et al (which I don't have at my
Macaulay library (eBird) can be inaccurate with mis-identifications and can
have a relative lack of birds identified to the subspecies level.

Jamie Simmons

On Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 12:01 PM Russ Namitz <namitzr...> wrote:

> Although ID is still being researched, I validated the following report so
> that the public could view these photos.
> Earlier I talked about subspecies and subspecific groups in eBird while
> using SONG SPARROW as an example. As a quick aside, I don't think it
> matters too much if one uses the general name like SONG SPARROW or the
> subspecies/subspecific group that is known to breed in a particular area
> (e.g. SONG SPARROW (heermanni Group) for Brookings, OR). It really does't
> make the "data" stronger by stating the known breeding subspecies group.
> The trouble and where it DOES matter is where the zone of overlap happens
> and observers start *assuming* subspecies/subspecific group. Somewhere
> along the southcentral Oregon coast, the SONG SPARROW (rufina Group) and
> the SONG SPARROW (heermanni Group) overlap. I suspect that it happens in
> Coos County, but it may be further north or possibly even south. I honestly
> have not researched enough and it is out of my area of expertise at the
> moment.
> But that brings me to the eBird link above. I think that this SONG SPARROW
> belongs to the Central/Eastern US subspecific group of SONG SPARROW
> (melodia/atlantica)....and that perhaps it is the first photo documented
> record for Oregon. However, it was brought to my attention that Jim
> Hardman & Phil Redlinger photographed a very similar individual on Nov 30th
> while searching for the Lane County Harris's Sparrow (OBOL message on
> 11/30/2018).
> Anyway, kind of my whole point is that I am very guilty of just passing
> over Song Sparrows and that, from now on, I will be taking a closer look,
> especially in winter and look for the variety that might be out there.
> Cheers,
> Russ Namitz
> Coos/Curry/Grant/Harney eBird Reviewer

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