Rick Wright's taxonomic treatment is, by his own admission, eclectic and non-standard. In the "Taxonomy and Classification" section (p. 3) of his Introduction, he states, "In answering the vexed question of which "kinds" of sparrows should be given separate treatment here, we have taken a decidedly eclectic approach. Not all of the taxa considered here are accorded species status in the Check-list published (and regularly updated) by the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), now the American Ornithological Society (AOS), but all are of sufficient historical note, and most are sufficiently distinctive in appearance, to be of interest to birders in the field. "
I, for one, appreciate his detailed and studied analysis. The book is wonderfully rich in its historical and descriptive detail.
From: <cobirds...> <cobirds...> on behalf of Robert Righter <rorighter...>
Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2019 4:42:59 PM
Subject: [cobirds] Timberline Sparrow ??
Just reading Peterson Reference Guide to Sparrows of North America (2019) by Rick Wright, apparently on page 321, Timberline Sparrow (Spizella Taverneri), previously a subspecies of the Brewer’s Sparrow has been elevated to a species. A brief search of the internet didn’t produce any information to this effect so I’m not sure how this subspecies gained species status.
Here is what is stated in reference to Colorado; Still mysterious is the summer occurrence of Timberline-like sparrows in suitable breeding habitat at high elevations in the Colorado Rockies; it is not certain whether these birds are in fact Timberline Sparrows—or the altitudinal range of the Brewer Sparrow…
If this information is true the Timberline Sparrow would automatically ascend to first place as being the most difficult species to identify in Colorado if not for North America.
Anyone have any more information about the Timberline Sparrow status?