Date: 5/23/20 11:02 am
From: David Guertin <dave...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Golden and Blue-winged Warblers ... IDing, and submitting to eBird. ** Update.

I really appreciate your efforts in clarifying the winged-warblers. I
had been guilty of thinking of hybrids solely in terms of the
Brewster's/Lawrence's hybrids named in the field guides, but have come
to learn that it's way more interesting than that! Thank you for the
education. These birds are fascinating. There's a male that has
settled in near my house which I had previously identified as a
Golden-winged, because that's what it looks like -- mostly. But a
conspicuous wash of yellow on his breast indicates that he is indeed a

And there's nothing wrong with that!

I want to find out more about hybrids that are being seen around here,
and what different types of hybrids, because they are so interesting,
but unfortunately eBird only seems to allow searching for "pure"
species. I can search for Blue-wings, or Golden-wings, but not
hybrids. To me, that's too bad, because they're as interesting in
their own right as the pure species, other than the fact that they
don't "count" for a checklist.

I'll still enjoy the mostly-but-not-pure-Golden-winged Warbler at home
as long as he chooses to stick around!

Oh, and one other thing: our local not-quite-Golden-winged Warbler has
been singing no less than three different variations of his song, one
of which is a simple bee-bzzz that sounds just like a Blue-winged
Warbler. So yeah, as you point out, song is not such a reliable
characteristic of these birds.

Dave G.

Quoting Ian Worley <iworley...>:

> Hi everyone,
> Lots of reports of winged-warblers in eBird from the Champlain
> Valley the last two weeks.  Below is the information email I sent
> out a week ago, in case you didn't see it.
> There are many good documentations coming in.  To date about 85% of
> photos submitted as Blue-winged Warblers appear to be correct IDs.
> About 40% of photos submitted as Golden-winged Warblers are hybrids
> and not a pure Golden-winged.  About 70% of submissions with no
> photos are doing nice jobs of enumerating numerous diagnostic
> features that serve to identify pure Blue-wingeds and
> Golden-wingeds, and hybrids.  The remainder of the submissions don't
> describe enough characteristics to fulfill the ID.
> When submitting more than one bird for a species or hybrid category,
> be sure to describe each individual bird.
> It is nice to see so many descriptions of the vocalizations.  Taken
> as a whole they clearly illustrate that any pure species or hybrid
> might sing any of the songs.  Which means, of course, at least in
> the Champlain Valley population the song is not a diagnostic feature
> separating species.
> When looking at possible pure Golden-wingeds, don't forget to note
> if there is any yellow wash on the breast or belly, which would
> indicate a hybrid.  Likewise, carefully look at and document the
> color of wing bars on any bird you see well enough to do so.  If the
> wing-panel on a possible Golden-winged is not essentially solid, a
> good description is helpful.
> Gorgeous weather this holidaty weekend continues for tracking down
> these gorgeous species!  It seems that some new locations are being
> found.
> Best wishes,
> Ian
> ========================
> May 17, 2020
> Hello birders in search of the "winged-warblers" in Vermont.
> These fascinating birds are back, perhaps where you have seen them
> before, or in newly evolving habitats as abandoned fields begin to
> fill with shrubs and trees.  Or maybe a familiar site has changed
> enough that it is no longer suitable.
> This would be a good time to revisit, or visit for the first time,
> some documents which will tell you about the winged-warbler complex,
> what to look for when viewing the birds and identifying each
> individual, and how to submit to eBird.
> ----- For a Vermont background on the wing-warbler complex in the
> state, read about the "Golden-winged Warbler Conservation" project
> underway by Vermont Audubon:
> ----- In that website is this link to a detailed article about the
> two species and their hybrids. Two important aspect of these birds
> are (a) vocalizations heard can not be used to determine whether the
> bird singing is one or the other of the species or a hybrid, and (b)
> IDs are dependent upon combinations of many plumage
> characteristics.  Here is the link:
> *******----- The last page (page 7) of that article is a table to
> keep handy as you bird.  It has eleven diagnostic features to look
> for, features that will help you decide if the bird you are viewing
> is one of the two species, a named hybrid, a hybrid of some mix of
> characteristics, or not possible to figure our from what you saw or
> heard.
> ----- For figuring out how to submit your observation to eBird, use
> this guide from the Vermont eBird website:
> As always, if you are able to photograph a bird or birds, multiple
> views are much more helpful than a single photo.  eBird allows up to
> ten photos per species.
> Happy warblering!
> Ian
> Vermont eBird reviewer for the Champlain Valley
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