Date: 9/28/19 6:43 am
From: Jeffrey Tufts <jctufts33...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Those fall kingbirds
"February the traditional month for snarking at each other" on OBOL?

I thought it was January …………… thru December.

Jeff Tufts

On Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 8:23 PM Alan Contreras <acontrer56...> wrote:

> Our traditional month for snarking at each other is February, so let’s
> focus on the field in our best birding season, which is now.
> One of the underlying issues with a bird like Tropical Kingbird is that
> because it isn’t really a rarity in the usual sense, with half a dozen or
> more records each fall in Oregon for decades (I saw three last fall),
> observers note it but the OBRC never sees it. Therefore record-keeping and
> note-taking tends to be more casual than for, say, a fall Bay-breasted
> Warbler.
> Another, more important issue is that some people consider eBird to be a
> sole source for status and facts about distribution issues or particular
> records. It isn’t. This habit of overreliance on eBird is getting to be a
> problem in discussing the actual status of birds in a region.
> Some information gets into eBird, some never escapes OBOL, some is
> published later in Oregon Birds, North American Birds and in some cases in
> venues such as Western Birds. Some gets into regional field notes and
> nowhere else. Some disappears, which is undesirable.
> So the fact that a particular detail isn’t in eBird is not definitive of
> whether the detail is actually available. We have fallen into the habit of
> wanting everything available right now from one source. That doesn’t work
> well for bird records.
> Alan Contreras
> <acontrer56...>
> Eugene, Oregon
> Nostalgic for Nixon….
> On Sep 27, 2019, at 7:59 PM, Wayne Weber <contopus...> wrote:
> Alex,
> You are probably correct that non-vocalizing Tropical and Couch’s
> Kingbirds cannot usually be distinguished from each other under field
> conditions. However, geographic distribution is a major factor that should
> be considered in making bird identifications. Tropical Kingbird is a
> species which has a well-documented pattern of fall occurrence along the
> West Coast. There are records north to Alaska, and there are scores of
> sightings every fall in coastal BC, Washington, Oregon, and California. On
> the other hand, there is only one confirmed record of Couch’s Kingbird on
> the west coast (in 1998 in Orange County, California). Given these facts,
> it is a certainty that fewer than 1%, if any, of the Tropical/Couch’s type
> Kingbirds seen in Oregon are actually Couch’s. Observers should feel safe
> in reporting such birds as Tropical Kingbirds, with very little likelihood
> of error.
> Your statement that non-vocalizing birds MUST be recorded as
> Tropical/Couch’s is ludicrous. Using your standards, we would have to
> report all non-vocalizing meadowlarks seen in Oregon as Eastern/Western,
> because these two are very difficult to separate.
> Please do not bother to send any more of your dogmatic and bluntly-worded
> messages about bird identification to OBOL. Many of us have been birding
> much longer than you, are well aware of the various pitfalls in bird
> identification, and do not need to be lectured by you on how to report
> things in eBird. Thank you.
> Wayne C. Weber
> Delta, BC, Canada
> <contopus...>
> *From:* <obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...>
> <obol-bounce...>] *On Behalf Of *Alex Lamoreaux
> *Sent:* Friday, September 27, 2019 4:38 PM
> *To:* Oregon Birders OnLine
> *Subject:* [obol] Re: Those fall kingbirds
> Similar to my rant on crossbills yesterday, without vocalizations Tropical
> and Couch’s Kingbirds are not identifiable under field conditions. Some
> variation in shape of the P4 on adult males, and other subtle in-hand
> features can separate them but otherwise they must be recorded as
> Tropical/Couch’s until vocals can confirm species. Current eBird records of
> this Newport bird make no mention of calls and the records should be
> changed to the dreaded ‘slash’.
> Tropical has shown a solid pattern of northward movement up the west coast
> in fall in recent years (and up the east coast to a lesser extent, with
> overwintering in Florida etc) but Couch’s Kingbird has also greatly
> increased its US population in the last 10 years and should be expected as
> a fall vagrant throughout the country. 4+ have been confirmed by vocals in
> the west, and many more in the northeast and Great Lakes.
> Alex
> Alex Lamoreaux
> 717-943-7086
> Naturalist and Senior Leader/North America Specialist for Wildside Nature
> Tours

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