Date: 9/28/19 4:40 pm
From: Larry McQueen <larmcqueen...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Those fall kingbirds

Thank you for this. OBOL is not a place to put people down.


On Sep 28, 2019, at 11:52 AM, Sheila Junge (G2) <sgjsacto...><mailto:<sgjsacto...>> wrote:

Josh – Thank you for this.
I'm a longtime lurker on OBOL. I subscribed due to occasional visits to Oregon and have remained due to the opportunity to learn AND for the sense of community. I plan to spend more time birding in Oregon in future.
This was a chance to discuss (king)bird ID issues but community not so much. I am so dismayed at the harsh (disrespectful?) tone of some of the comments that I am posting to OBOL for the first time.
Can't we all agree to disagree without being disagreeable.
Sheila Junge
Sacramento, CA

On 9/28/2019 7:19 AM, Josh Spice wrote:
First and foremost, my sincere apologies to all for stepping out of line with name-calling. That was unnecessary and unacceptable. I seem to have read the two emails differently and was offended at the tone. That did not warrant name-calling. Swallowing my own pride here and my sincere apologies to all. A valuable lesson learned in my first experience (and year) with listservs.

Off less importance, a second thought I had in reading some great replies by experienced kingbird-ers is if the the main difference between the two species is voice, could the 'two species' just be a matter of splitting instead of lumping? It'd be fun to hear more from those who know more about this.

Again, I stepped out of line with my name-calling and I apologize to everyone for that. Let's all keep this a non-attacking place, hopefully always from the start of every email thread.

Good birding to all and thanks for everyone's contributions. I, for one, have been grateful for this resource and the people that make it up.


On Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 22:00 Wayne Weber <contopus...><mailto:<contopus...>> wrote:

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

From: <obol-bounce...><mailto:<obol-bounce...> [mailto:<obol-bounce...><mailto:<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 Lamoreaux
Naturalist and Senior Leader/North America Specialist for Wildside Nature Tours

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