[CT Birds] Retraction of Orange Crowned

Greg Hanisek ghanisek at rep-am.com
Wed Sep 18 17:57:26 EDT 2013

Couldn't agree more that careful identification is the gold standard, and changes in bird phenology seem to be more and more frequent for various reasons. But understanding seasonal occurrence is very important in making one take that extra careful look at a bird, which we often don't do when we see a bird that's expected. I can't tell you how many times over the years someone has told me they saw bird X at a highly unexpected time, and when ask for more info they say, "I didn't really look that well. Didn't realize a (for example) Scarlet Tanager would be rare in March." Charlie took the picture because he knew an O-c was unexpected.  
Greg Hanisek  

From: David F Provencher (Generation - 4) [mailto:david.f.provencher at dom.com]
To: Paul Desjardins [mailto:paul.desjardins2 at gmail.com], CT Birds Submission [mailto:ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org]
Sent: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:08:45 -0500
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Retraction of Orange Crowned

The amount of birder coverage and info sharing in CT has never been greater, so our knowledge of migrant passage is definitely increasing. Not to mention migration patterns are always plastic to changes in weather patterns, environmental changes, etc. We see Orange-crowned in mid-September regularly at Bluff Point, but that is in the context of a significant migrant population. Typically the Yellow Warblers that are the dullest/greenest looking (Orange-crowned like) move through our area fairly latish, after many (but not all) O-crowned have passed.

If I were to offer any advice on identification of migrants, it would be to focus on as many field marks as possible and to use passage timing as a minor factor. There is no substitution in identifying a species for properly identifying it by field marks! Unless you're talking DNA, which we rarely are as birders. Timing, habitat, etc. are contributing factors but not defining factors in identification. In my opinion one of the greatest identification traps we fall into is seeing what we expect to be seeing rather than what we are presented with. Too much reliance on what "should" be going by can add to the "seeing what's expected" trap. We should try and identify every bird we look at or hear, but as others have said, there will always be instances where we just can't be sure. 

David Provencher

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