Saturday, July 23, 2016

Warbler Guy, any name changes by the American Ornithologists' Union this summer? Did the AOU bird name changes happen to any wood-warblers?

Channee, the short answer: "No" changes among wood-warbler species (either scientific or common names) via the recent July publication of the AOU's latest taxonomic proposal changes.

That written, a couple of interesting votes occurred by the AOU committee in relation to other songbird taxonomic change proposals:

1. In a slight upset, the presumed lump of Hoary and Common Redpoll failed as a proposal. More study was deemed necessary to decide if these two species should instead be considered as one.

2. A proposal that passed:

The Western Scrub-jay is now separated into two species: California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay.

Read all about it, below, courtesy of Audubon Magazine (and the author Kenn Kaufman):

Western Scrub-Jay is now split into two species: the California Scrub-Jay(Aphelocoma californica) and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii). Birders have long recognized that these widespread western jays come in different flavors: a darker, more rich color in California, Oregon, and southwestern Washington, and a somewhat paler, grayer type in the interior West, from Nevada east to Texas. Many field guides already illustrate them separately as “coastal form” (or “Pacific form”) and “interior form.” They do hybridize where their ranges come together in western Nevada, but studies have shown that such interbreeding is very limited. So now they will be officially recognized as separate species.

Birders who have traveled widely in the West have probably seen both of these already, and will net an automatic “armchair lifer” from the decision. If you’ve already seen them, you can go ahead and count them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Warbler Guy, can you name a common wood-warbler that migrates early in summer throughout the USA?


If you said “Yellow Warbler,” then you’re correct.

Rather than merely identifying this species as among the earliest “fall migrants” within the wood-warbler family, it’s apt to state the Yellow Warbler is an early “summer migrant.”

Dispersal and/or migration begins by mid- to late July throughout the majority of its eastern USA breeding range.

Migration of Yellow Warbler on the West Coast is not as early, typically initiating in August and peaking later in the month and into early September.

In addition, note this species has protracted migration, as some tardy individuals have been noted in Pennsylvania as late as October 1st and into late October from sightings in South Carolina and Florida.

Earliest arriving transients from the north into Mexico have been detected by late July. Most individuals, however, arrive in non-breeding territory by August, with peak numbers returning in September and October.