But... variation from species norms is what enables evolution. Also,
ranges gradually do expand and migration patterns change. Hardened
assumptions and rigid adherence to checklists can sometimes cause blindness.
I was once visiting a Canadian hotspot with a group of birders from
eastern Mass. when a fish crow flew over calling. A number of people
immediately said "Fish crow." The local Canadian birders objected
vehemently. "We don't have fish crows here," they insisted. Well, they
did, or at least they had one that day. But because they "don't have
Fish Crows," they weren't able to find out that they had a Fish Crow.
I'm 100 percent in favor of reporting unlikely sightings/hearings, but I
think we're all better off if we know and acknowledge they're unlikely
so that other birders in the area can have the opportunity to go to the
place and see if it can be confirmed, or be alerted to the same unlikely
possibility in their own areas.
I think the Massbird ornithologist whose message the Pratts forwarded
here got a little carried away in his agitation about the conflict
between the hummingbird site and the eBird data. Checking the Massbird
postings last night, I see he's since walked back the "impossible" part
after being presented with evidence that one of them had been found and
photographed in Mass. months outside of the limits he asserted.
As for scathing comments and "getting your butt handed to you," it seems
to me this happened much more frequently when I first joined this list 6
years or so ago. I know I got blasted publicly and scathingly early on
by two people for posting something about a starling "playing dead" in
an encounter with a Sharp-Shinned hawk because that was inexcusable
But I haven't seen that kind of thing happening here in a number of
years now, although perhaps those scoldings are being sent privately.
It's a great shame if people refrain from posting out of fear of
receiving scathing comments. It's also a great shame if people refrain
from questioning or discussion out of fear of seeming to be critical.
There is a middle ground here, it seems to me, if all of us can take a
deep breath and try not to overreact in either direction. In the last
week, as far as I can tell, the only person who actually "got their butt
handed to them" was me for an accident for which I apologized immediately.
On 3/24/2012 7:10 AM, Ian A. Worley wrote:
> Considering that Pewees are typically our very last arrivals, it
> certainly would be extraordinarily exceptional, I would think. I checked
> eBird this morning and thus far this year in all of the U.S. there are
> only four reports, and only one has a description (very brief); none has
> a photograph or mention a recording of the song. They are in Texas,
> Mississippi (heard only), and Florida (2). And without some research we
> don't know how reliable these reports are.
> As others have commented, certainly any "simply NOT possible" kind of
> observation needs superb documentation --- at least a good photograph
> and a very well detailed description. In this case a recording of the
> song would be very valuable to add to a photograph.
> I agree that Pewees have a very distinctive, though brief, song. It
> helps if it is heard repeatedly over a long period of time. I know that
> I've, and other folks I've been with, briefly heard a Pewee song at
> various times of the year that have turned out to be some other species
> .... usually a Starling, Chickadee or even a Cowbird. Hopefully some
> folks who are hearing this song can get high quality looks, photographs,
> etc. of the songster.
> Check out this link (the dates run across the bottom of the animation),
> and note the comments about early reports. If you haven't seen these
> migratory map animations created from eBird data before, they are really
> On 3/24/2012 6:59 AM, MARIE HEMEON wrote:
>> I heard one yesterday in N Bennington also. On Park St. Where was
>> yours? Didn't bother to enter it though. I like my butt attached to my
>> backside, not being handed to me.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Maeve Kim<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:54 AM
>> Subject: [VTBIRD] “Impossible” Pewee
>> Yesterday I heard an unmistakable plaintive PEEE-uh-WEEEE, looked in
>> that direction and caught a glimpse of a small, slim dark bird
>> flycatching from a bare tree limb. I went toward the bird but never
>> heard or saw it again. I entered Eastern Wood Pewee on eBird but then
>> deleted it after checking where they migrate and then reading the
>> message forwarded by the Pratts that described a March pewee as
>> However – I’ve read that every year some members of many species
>> simply don’t migrate Ialmost always the old, sick or injured). They
>> die soon, are removed from the gene pool, and aren’t noticed by
>> humans. In this very odd winter, isn’t it possible that some of this
>> group of lingering should-be-migrants made it through the winter?
>> They’ve been quiet for months, but now the light reminds them about
>> their reproductive duties – and they suddenly have the energy to sing
>> because of increased food and because they’re not spending every
>> available calorie just to keep from freezing to death.
>> Maeve Kim
>> Jericho Center
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