[CT Birds] Fwd: Willow or Alder?

Julie Keefer julie.keefer at gmail.com
Tue Jun 3 18:45:31 EDT 2008


Greg meant to send this to the whole list...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Greg Hanisek <ghanisek at rep-am.com>
Date: Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 5:43 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Willow or Alder?
To: Julie Keefer <julie.keefer at gmail.com>


Julie et al,

This is a very tough situation to work out. I'm not aware of any known
instances of these very closely related species hybridizing, but then short
of a DNA analysis it would probably be impossible to detect a hybrid. As I
mentioned when we had a little go-around on this topic last year, Willow
Flycatchers are know to sing a dawn song that is essentially identical to
Alder Flycatcher. That makes it very difficult to confidently identify Alder
Flycatchers away from their known breeding sites, which in CT are mainly
brushy wetlands in the Northwest Corner from Litchfield northward. That's
the main reason I've been cautious about calling the Watertown bird an
Alder, although as I said earlier from my visit there this year, it really
sounds like one. (At least during the hour or so I was there in
mid-morning).

There's plenty of info in the literature about how they segregate themslves
in areas where they both occur, and there are studies that say Willow is
dominant in those situations. That may explain why Alder occurs in such
limited habitat in CT.

Greg Hansiek
Waterbury




----- Original Message ----- From: "Julie Keefer" <julie.keefer at gmail.com>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Willow or Alder?



Is it possible this bird is a hybrid of the 2 species?  It is my
> understanding from reading/learning about bird song that Empidonax song is
> innate and not learned.  Therefore, wouldn't a bird that seems to have a
> song that is similar to both species suggest it was a hybrid of some sort
> or
> a genetic variant at the very least?  Considering how similar these species
> are, hybridization doesn't seem all that unlikely.
>
> Julie Keefer
>
> On Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 2:58 PM, William Sweet <w.sweet at sbcglobal.net>
> wrote:
>
> Last year I posted on the subject of a possible Alder Flycatcher in
>> Veteran's Park in Watertown (actually in the powerline cut behind the
>> park).
>> The song was so much like an Alder to me that I recorded it as such for a
>> couple of years in my journal.
>>
>>  After the post last year, Greg Hanisek investigated this bird and he
>> agreed it was a song very much like an Alder but he was leaning toward a
>> Willow singing like an Alder as the habitat is very much Willow friendly.
>> Greg - please correct me if I'm wrong with your estimation.
>>
>>  Anyway - Today at noon I took a walk in the powerline cut and heard a
>> flycatcher song that was a little more Willow than Alder but yet still
>> mixed... not quite a pure Willow song. It will be interesting to see (if
>> this bird hangs around) if this song becomes more Alder-like as it settles
>> in over the next month as in the previous years.
>>
>>  If anyone is interested... Veteran's Park in Watertown is on Nova Scotia
>> Drive off of 262. If you drive the loop-road and come to the basketball
>> courts... Park there. The path to the powerline cut is across from the
>> courts. Keep straight on the path and goes to the right and connects to a
>> service trail. Walk that service trail. This area has been pretty good
>> birding over the years.
>> _______________________________________________
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>> _______________________________________________
> This list is provided by the Connecticut Ornithological Association (COA)
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>
>



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