Date: 12/27/20 12:12 am
From: Nick Bonomo via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Dovekie story, List integrity, etc
It is true that there was an announced release of a Dovekie at Hammo yesterday afternoon. I wasn’t part of any coordination or word-spreading process but did receive a text and a phone call about it. I was driving home from a CBC at the time, and, while appreciative and happened to be on I-95 just one town over, had no interest in the release as I have been lucky to see Dovekie up close before.

I have no idea why it wasn’t made public, and honestly assumed it had been as there didn’t seem to be a secrecy in the messages I received. The heads-up reached me over an hour before the release. Again, I had no interest in the event and simply continued with my driving and my day, assuming that most others would react the same way. I apologize for not asking if any coordinator had made it “public.” It is regrettable that it was not. There are times in which a bird cannot be made public due to landowner or sensitivity concerns, but this was not one of those. Clearly plenty of folks went there with the intent of counting that bird, but could not bother with a listserv post...

No doubt Dovekies are great little birds and I do understand the desire to see one up close at a release, especially if you haven’t seen the species well before. But I was surprised at how many folks seem to be putting this on a life/state list?

To me, getting a heads-up that a transported rehabbed bird would be released at X time at Y place so I could count the thing as long as it doesn’t drop dead out of the hand is not birding.

ABA has recently altered their listing rules to essentially allow birders to make their own decisions in these cases. (They used to have a strict set of guidelines that were somewhat arbitrary and were due to be changed to leave it up to the individual birder.) Predictably, this is seen by some as a chance to pad their lists with birds they never would have counted before.

If the bird had within seconds been whacked and eaten by a GBBG, I can hear the listing rationalization now. “It made an evasive maneuver! It was aware of the gull and tried to escape! It is countable!” The desire to tick is apparently very strong.

We all have our own listing quirks. Some refuse to count heard-only birds and undoubtedly look at ear birders like me as listing heathens :).

Would this dovekie be on any list of mine? Absolutely not. But that’s my decision. It is a bummer, though, that more folks weren’t given the chance to make that call themselves.

Off to owl for a CBC.

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT

Sent from my iPhone
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