Friday, July 27, 2012

Warbler Guy, do the new AOU bird name changes include any for North American wood-warblers?

No, Carrie (in Madison, WI), there's no wood-warbler name changes in the 53rd Supplement to the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) Check-list of North American Birds . . . butthere's some other interesting changes that birders may wish to know.

Feel free to Read All About it at:

If you wish to save time and skip the study hall time, then here's the less-than-big-news highlights:
 1. First, as background, it should be noted that AOU and the name changes is anannual action performed by the American Ornithologists' Union (thus, AOU) andthis year's recent action creates the 53rd Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of NorthAmerican Birds.

2. As for the name changes, they relate to a

a) split of the Xantus's Murrelet into two species;and

b) a shifting of the falcon and parrot orders to new positions on the check-list.

There's many other scientific name changes related to genera, but I won't bore you with those details, though they are present at the above web site link, if you wish to visit it.The one that I think is interesting for our NBB area — given the resident presence of our urbane House Finch and its close relative, the Purple Finch that also is a year-round resident in the NBB area — relates to how these two species(and the Cassin's Finch) are NO longer in the Carpodacus genus.....they are now separated from the Eurasian Rosefinches and these three finch species have beenplaced in the genus Haemorhous, which is name of an old finch genus.

So, if you're still following me, in a nutshell: It's hello Haemorhous and good-bye Carpodacus.

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Friday, July 13, 2012

Warbler Guy, what’s being done to help declining populations of Golden-winged Warbler?

Victor (in Chicago), one wildlife management technique currently employed to help create suitable breeding habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler (and other species that, likewise, prefer young, pioneer, second-growth vegetational habitats) originates from funding provided by such groups as The Ruffed Grouse Society, Wildlife Management Institute, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the American Bird Conservancy. 

Interested in promoting young forest management as a means to ensure the Golden-winged Warbler maintains its current breeding range in the upper Midwest, these groups have provided funds to public agencies (e.g., Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) (DNR) that have wildlife biologists that, in turn, coordinate educational workshops for landowners interested in conserving the presence of their local avifauna species (e.g., Golden-winged Warbler). 

This kind of effort goes beyond Wisconsin, as my readings tell me one or more of the aforementioned groups is also helping fund other conservation efforts and management plans that seek to preserve various bird species’ populations, such as Ruffed Grouse that also often prefer to nest in similar habitat utilized by Golden-winged Warbler. 

As for my luck in finding Golden-winged Warbler recently, a fleeting glimpse with a transient in Door County a few weeks ago is a fine memory, thanks to my friend and wildlife biologist Paul Regnier who first spotted a foraging male. 

I say “lucky” because I never consider this species to be common or abundant. Traipsing through various Wisconsin warbler-watching locations through the years has always resulted in no more than five or 10 detections of this species annually. 

A rare vagrant on the West Coast to the Pt. Reyes National Seashore area also occurs, though I’m usually tardy chasing it, thereby swinging and missing at the pitches I see on the local North Bay Birds listserv within the Marin County (SF Bay Area) location where I live (Novato, a northern Marin Co. city).  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Warbler Guy, which warbler may disperse &/or migrate by July? Which eastern warbler species is a likely West Coast vagrant?

Heather (in Seattle) one good candidate as an answer to your questions is the Tennessee Warbler (photo shown here).

In the USA's East and Midwest where this species is typically seen, its early dispersal away from natal/nesting areas is common. Many upper Midwest states have August banding records of Tennessee Warbler individuals away from their nesting grounds. 

But migration patterns may vary from one year to the next. That's because annual numbers for Tennessee Warbler often correlate with the the intensity of the summer season's spruce budworm output (that is a cyclical phenomenon in the boreal forest habitat where many breed). 

Interestingly, Heather, some females arrive on northern breeding grounds in the spring already pregnant due to mating that occurs during daytime layovers in migration. In non-breeding season habitat, Tennessee Warbler is often seen eating nectar and fruit. 

For me, the autumn in northern California where I live includes spotting an occasional Tennessee on a cloudy or foggy day amid small refuge patches of non-native Monterey Cypress within a west Marin County national park, Point Reyes National Seashore. That's because this species is one of the most typical vagrant eastern wood-warbler species to appear in the West.

(Photo by Corey Finger)

By contrast, in the spring, during my annual spring jaunt to the Midwest, I'm often sweating by noon while watching the same species in northern deciduous hardwood habitat. There, it’s a common transient through Door County, a northern Wisconsin environ that hosts 16 to 18 nesting warbler species as the farthest southern terminus expression of boreal forest in the lower 48 USA states.