Blog Birding #109
by Nate Swick
At 10,000 Birds, David Ringer looks at an upcoming reorganization of sandpiper taxonomy:
I think it’s likely that next year’s AOU North American checklist supplement will reflect some of the new information. Currently, the list places yellowlegs and their relatives first and ends with phalaropes in their own subfamily. And some distinctive-looking species, like Surfbird and Buff-breasted Sandpiper are placed in genera by themselves. But let’s take a look at how things are shaping up for the future.
I, for one, don't often think of Brown Creepers as being much for singing, being as I only see them in the winter, but Nathan Pieplow at Earbirding is fascinated by their dawn song:
I love the dawn chorus in part because it contains songs that you can hear at no other time of day. A number of North American birds sing dawn songs unlike anything they say after sunrise. I’ve written here about several: Violet-green Swallow, American Robin, Cassin’s Kingbird, Cordilleran and Pacific-slope Flycatchers. But if you had asked me six months ago whether Brown Creeper had a distinctive dawn song, I would have told you no.
Nick L, who write at The Birdist, has an incredible story of the little-known man who may have been North America's first birder, David Ingram:
David Ingram was an Englishman who left his home country in 1567 with a couple hundred other guys in a fleet of five vessels on a slave-stealing mission to the Caribbean. Now, here are two generally-to-widely accepted facts about what happened next:
- After being attacked by the Spanish, Ingram and about a hundred other sailors were cast ashore at Tampico, Mexico - a town at the westernmost point of the Gulf of Mexico, two hundred miles south of what's now the Mexico/USA border.
- 11 months later, Ingram and two others of his original party were discovered by a French fishing vessel ... ON THE COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA. NOVA SCOTIA. IN CANADA.
Rick Wright, writing at Birding New Jersey, offers a lesson on the odd Caribbean history of our most well-known raptor:
It wasn’t always that way. The abundance of this now so familiar bird in the east has varied considerably over these few centuries that make up the ornithological record, and it is well to remember that the species was not formally described from Virginia or Massachusetts or New Jersey, all places probably still too heavily forested for Red-tails in the days of the earliest observers, but rather from Jamaica — whence its disconcerting scientific name, Buteo jamaicensis.
Kenn Kaufman has an opportunity for birders to make their voices heard regarding the ill-considered placement of wind turbines on Lake Erie's southern shore:
BSBO has been working to convince local officials to relocate the wind turbine project to another site that would be less threatening to bird populations. This effort has won the endorsement and support of other organizations, including National Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, League of Ohio Sportsmen, American Birding Association, American Bird Conservancy, Ohio Ornithological Society, and several others. In addition, both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Ohio's Division of Wildlife have submitted comments highly critical of the Environmental Assessment of the wind turbine project. In spite of all this opposition, the leadership at Camp Perry appears to be going ahead with their plans.