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Blog Birding #327

Want more on the AOS Check-list Supplement? Christian Hagenlocher shares his thoughts at The Birding Project.

The latest AOU supplement is now online! I’ll admit, writing this is a little outside my comfort zone. I’m not the type of birder who memorizes the taxonomical order of the New World passerines, or eagerly awaits the annual taxonomical update. Like many birders, I didn’t know the AOU changed to American Ornithological Society (AOS) until recently.  I’m learning more about birds step by step, and the recent update to AOU taxonomy piqued my curiosity- but “figuring out” all of the proposed lumps, splits, and re-arrangements isn’t of too much interest to me.

And Rick Wright’s take at Birding New Jersey and Beyond is worth a look at well.

It’s Christmas in July for most birders with the appearance of the now-annual Supplement to the AOU Check-list. This year, as always, Santa Claus giveth and Santa Claus taketh away. On balance, those who care about numbers will find their lists increasing. For the rest of us — for most of us — the yearly update is a chance to look into the workings of taxonomists and ornithologists as they toil to decipher the relationships among our birds.

An interesting study, summarized at, looks at how geography affects bird genes as they pertain to migration.

The researchers studied the entire genetic make-up of willow warblers that breed in southern and northern Sweden, Finland and the Baltic States. The comparison shows that the genomes are almost completely identical, but there are significant differences between the birds that breed in southern Sweden and those that breed in the northern parts of the country and east of the Baltic.

Alix d’Entremont at Birding & Exploring in Nova Scotia writes about a tern colony collapse on the Brother Islands and why it’s entirely normal.

Roseate Terns are listed as Endangered in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. Its reproductive rate is limited by age of first breeding at age 3, small clutch size (2 for experienced birds, 1 for first-time breeders), and a relatively low survival rate of adults and young birds. One of the main threats to Canadian Roseate Tern populations is predation and displacement of colonies by Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls. The restricted distribution of this tern makes it vulnerable to localized threats such as human disturbance and weather events. (Environment Canada 2010)

Many of us watched the flood of Carribean rarities in Florida this fall with amazement. At Leica Birding Blog, Jeff Bouton explores what might have been behind this extraordinary phenomenon.

At this point, it was clear something odd was happening and some long time Florida residents (author included) now started theorizing that these birds were transplanted by Hurricane Matthew which swept slowly and churned over the nearby Caribbean Islands including the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm causing major damage to native habitats here.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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