[CT Birds] Reporting Red Crossbills

Gregory Hanisek ctgregh at gmail.com
Tue Nov 14 12:44:27 EST 2017

Hello All,

I'm providing the message below from Marshall Iliff primarily for eBird
users, but it's of interest to anyone who has been keeping up (or trying
to) with the evolving efforts to understand the complex Red Croassbill
situation in North America. Greg Hanisek Waterbury

Regional Editors,

There is currently an historic Red Crossbill irruption under way in North
America, with birds already showing up this fall in far-flung places, out
of range, out of habitat, and in enormous numbers.

Identifying the various flight call types (see http://ebird.org/content/
ebird/news/crossbills-of-north-america-species-and-red-crossbill-call-types/ )
typically requires audio recordings and spectrograms. Although a few
birders perhaps can manage to separate the birds to type by ear only, these
records generally should not meet the standards for validation, especially
since we are still working out the distribution of the forms and since each
irruption can have different compositions of the types.

Given the magnitude of this year's irruption, and the difficulty in
identifying the birds by ear alone, we ask reviewers to remind observers
that Red Crossbill observations without audio recordings should be left as
simply ‘Red Crossbill’ and not determined to flight call type.

In the absence of these audio recordings, we encourage observers to include
a suggestion about putative flight call type in the notes section. Please
also review past records of Red Crossbill identified to type: if they have
past notes from Matt confirming the ID, and/or a spectrogram uploaded also
confirming the ID, there's no need to review (although we still encourage
them to upload the recording if they still have it). If they don't provide
any documentation confirming the ID, please encourage the observer to add
documentation or change to Red Crossbill (without identification to type).
Please treat the record as "Documentation--Inadequate" if it is identified
to type and not documented.

As a reminder, crossbills cannot be reliably typed on the basis of
photographs alone, as there is much overlap in bill sizes.

*IMPORTANT: *Since "typing" Red Crossbills from audio recordings is very
difficult we have added Matt Young and Tim Spahr (authors of the above
article on crossbill call types) as reviewers for the US and Canada. They
will be focusing on Red Crossbill records only, and primarily only those
with audio recordings. However, you should expect to see some of their
reviews occasionally in your region as they follow up on Red Crossbill
reports. If you have any concerns about this please get in touch with us at
eBird Central or with Matt (may6 at cornell.edu) or Tim (tspahr44 at gmail.com)


Marshall Iliff

More information about the CTBirds mailing list