Date: 9/27/19 10:49 pm
From: Robert O'Brien <baro...>
Subject: [obol] Tropical vs. Couch's Kingbirds in Oregon (& elsewhere)
I find this discussion useful as it hearkens me back to ~35 years ago when
I photographed a stakeout Tropical Kingbird along the Nehalem Loop road.
It was a horrible photograph but somehow still appeared in the seasonal
section of American Birds. Embarrassing. I did hear several times the
characteristic twittering calls and submitted a brief note to that effect
to the Oregon Birds Records Committee pointing out that the call eliminated
Couch's. At that time, as now, Tropical was just the default species, but
it was still a review species. Oddly I got a return note from OBRC saying
my submission
had not been accepted. Oh well, that was then, this is now; but I'm happy
to see the subject raised.

I don't have much to add to the ongoing discussion in the way of opinion,
other than a few factual items..
1. eBird does list Tropical/Couch's as a possible entry so nothing
prevents an eBird 'ambiguous' record.
2. Surely if the twittering calls are heard that should be described in the
eBird report for Tropical. If not mentioned at all one could only assume
the bird was silent. I didn't check all the Oregon Tropical records to see
how often the calls were reported, a tedious task. But checking could be
3. OBRC _could_ reopen this/these species for review. Up to them, of
4. The farthest NW 'duality' eBird record is from Arcata Bottoms, not all
that far from Oregon. The authors of this report go into great detail in
the field and in the report, attempting to document the
possibility/likelihood of a Couch's among Tropicals.. It makes interesting
reading vis a vis the current discussion: Still they
conservatively list it as Tropical/Couch's.
5. I didn't check all the more southerly dual records, but those I did
check didn't attempt to separate the species, often just separating them
from Western/Cassin's
6. I was unable to find any guidance from eBird online discussing how to
report these species.
7. Here is one eBird report of a Couch's near Fresno CA. The call is
mentioned but not described but may be in other reports. Apparently this
bird was around a long time.
8. The first accepted California record (Los Angeles,1998) is mentioned
9. As Alan has stated, eBird is not the be-all, end-all (yet) for avian
distributions, but it surely is the only easily accessible one, a
tremendous resource.

Bob OBrien Carver OR

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