[CT Birds] Accepting Western Flycatcher

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Sun Dec 2 19:55:47 EST 2007

Carl, you bring up an interesting point. How does a bird which may not be
identified to species level be accepted to the CT state list? Well look at
this way, the purpose of the Avian Records Committee of Connecticut is to
try and keep a "defensible" record of the avian species that occur or have
occurred in CT. So with the occurrence of the "Western Flycatcher" we will
have to decide if it is indeed one of the Pacific-Slope/Cordilleran species
pair, or even maybe Yellowish Flycatcher or Pine Flycatcher (both
exceedingly unlikely in CT of course). We know that neither Pacific-Slope
nor Cordilleran have been documented in CT before. Therefore, even if we
cannot separate out which of those two it is, we can definitively say it
represents a new species for the state and deserves to be documented as
such. So the state list will be amended (if the record is accepted) in some
way to list that the species pair known as "Western Flycatcher" has occurred
in CT. As for people "counting" it on their personal list, I can offer an
unbiased opinion since I don't keep track anymore of how many species I've
seen in CT (I just felt my good friend Jamie shudder at such a blasphemy!)
My opinion is this, birders who saw it (including my 9 year old daughter)
should count it as an addition to their list (as "Western Flycatcher sp")
since we know it represents something they haven't seen in CT before. If at
some point we are able to conclusively identify a Cordilleran or
Pacific-Slope in CT then those birders who had the "Western Flycatcher" on
their list would have to add the conclusively identified species to their
list (provided they saw it of course) and remove "Western Flycatcher."


In any case it is a great little bird and those of us who have already seen
it owe Roy Harvey a debt of gratitude (among the other debts we owe him.) As
Aristotle said, "In all things in nature, there is something of the
marvelous." Well done Roy, marvelous bird for CT. And by-the-way Roy, my
daughter Janet was thrilled to see it and didn't really care which species
it was, she's just really happy to say she has seen "Western Flycatcher" in



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