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Re: P-SF logic
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Re: P-SF logic
- From: Joshua Stuart Rose <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 09:58:00 -0500 (EST)
- In-Reply-To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Sender: email@example.com
On Fri, 28 Jan 2000 Jcovington@aol.com wrote:
> "The North Carolina bird is clearly sinusoidal, and thus is a "classic"
> Pacific Slope call." (Alvaro Jamarillo, forwarded by Harry).
Of course, Al also said, in the same message, "maybe we should be content
to use the name which makes the least number of assumptions - Western
Flycatcher. Either way, its a damn good bird for North Carolina!!!"
I'm prone to agree with Al. If what we are concerned with is scientific
accuracy, then the only way to be absolutely sure is to capture the bird
and take measurements, maybe even blood and feather samples. If we cannot
do this, then the scientific stance to take is that the bird is a Western
Flycatcher, without specifying which daughter species it is.
From a lister's point of view, the only folks who need to worry are those
who have seen Cordilleran but not Pacific-slope Flycatchers. There are no
records for Western Flycatcher in NC, much less either of the daughter
species, so this is a state bird for everyone, and a lifer for those who
have seen neither of the daughter species. As long as you can make out
the teardrop-shaped eye ring and yellow underside, that's enough to ID it
as a Western Flycatcher, whether it calls or not. The first one ever for
The rest is up to the state committee. The probability is in favor of
Pacific-Slope, particularly because the bird responded more strongly to
that call than the Cordilleran call from a tape (assuming you trust the
folks who made your tape...). Also, a post to the ID-frontiers listserv
today by Colorado birder and bander Tony Leukering supports PCFL as a
more likely eastward stray in fall migration than COFL (but note that he
tells his field assistants to record banded birds at Westerns). And there
is also the Pennsylvania bird, which was accepted by their state
committee as Pacific-slope. But when is probability high enough to be
accepted as certainty?
> 1. The speicies is separated from Cordilleran in the field uniquely by
Actually, if you reread Joe Morlan's commentary, the two species are
separated primarily by *song*, NOT call. To quote Joe again "migrants
giving typical Cordilleran MPNs can be confidently identified as
Cordilleran, but those giving typical Pacific-slope MPNs could be either
one. Johnson (in litt to Cannings) has stated that the best distinction
is the SONG." And our bird ain't singing...
> 2. The bird should be listed as P-SF. If the two species are not distinct
> enough that they should be considered separate species, we will have to let
> the authoriteis deal with that situation in the future. Until they do, what
> we have is Pacific-Slope Flycatcher.
For your own private lists, yes. If you report your list to the ABA for
publication, then we cannot count this bird as Pacific-Slope unless the
state committee accepts it as such. That's the rules of the game.
Joshua S. Rose
Department of Zoology