Date: 2/4/19 10:02 am
From: Ted Floyd <tedfloyd57...>
Subject: [cobirds] Yes, you can count the Pink-footed Goose (etc.)
Hey, all.

I'm writing here in official ABA (American Birding Association) capacity.

Andy Bankert's interpretation is correct. I have confirmed this with the
chair of the ABA Recording Standards & Ethics Committee. As long as the
bird is on the ABA *Checklist*, you may count it for your ABA list. Thus,
the Weld County Pink-footed and Barnacle geese may be counted for your ABA
list. Note that you are not compelled to do so. The decision is based on
your own personal assessment of the birds' statuses. Which can lead to some
interesting dilemmas, two of which I briefly describe below.

1. Two birders discovered a White-cheeked Pintail in Florida and,
interestingly, it was a prospective milestone for both. (Definitely #800
for one birder, #750 as I recall for the other.) At the time the species
was on both the ABA and the Florida lists. So it was countable. However,
one of the birders wasn't satisfactorily persuaded that the bird was a
natural vagrant; so he didn't count it. This is okay! It was the exact same
bird; the identification was not in question; and the bird counted for one
birder's list but not the other's. The two birders are still friends. Life
goes on.

2. A glorious Smew near St. Louis delighted birders in the winter of
1999-2000. Some of us saw that very bird. Including Yours Truly. But here's
the rather interesting thing. The bird was seen on both sides (Missouri and
Illinois) of the Mississippi River, with one state's committee accepting
the record and other rejecting it. We are talking about the same bird!
Accepted by one committee, rejected by the other. Missouri and Illinois
birders are still friends. Life goes on.

Back to the Weld County geese. You are 100% allowed to count them for your
ABA list--right now, without waiting for the records committee. You are
also 100% allowed to exclude one or both species from your list. If the
Colorado Bird Records Committee accepts, say, the Pink-footed Goose, you
are *still* 100% allowed to exclude the species from your list--for
example, if you feel that the bird was not satisfactorily demonstrated to
be a natural vagrant.

Okay, that's the end of my official response. The rest is my own personal
opinion.

The moral of this story, if you ask me is this: There are two kinds of
people in this world, those who can accept ambiguity and uncertainty in
life, and those whose heads explode. I, personally, delight in the diverse,
and sometimes incompatible, approaches we bring to birding. Some folks
don't count heard-only, exotic, and Hawaiian birds for the personal lists;
that truly doesn't bother me. One listing authority (the ABA) excludes the
Mexican Duck from its list, but another (eBird) not; that doesn't bother
me, either. And some folks have cheerfully ticked the Weld County
Pink-footed Goose off their bird lists, whilst others are taking a
wait-and-see attitude; and that, too, is perfectly fine with me.

My take, which doesn't have to be yours, is that birds are cool and that
I'm inclined to err on the side of inclusivity when it comes to counting
birds for my personal list. Even feral peafowl. (By the way, the Indian
Peafowl was recently added to the ABA *Checklist*. I'm just saying.) And as
with the Florida pintail and Missouri/Illinois Smew: We're still friends;
life goes on.

Ted Floyd
Lafayette, Boulder County

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