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Hawk; lake george CO september


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Let me start out by saying that I am not trying to be misleading, I am trying to point out that there are exceptions and a blank bar chart does not eliminate the possibility of those exceptions. I can speak from personal experience regarding rarities and range maps, take from it what you like. I can't provide specific dates but about 5-10 years ago, I thought I saw a Painted Bunting in my Southern Ontario backyard. The bird landed on the top rail of a chain link fence right outside my patio doors. I had only ever seen pictures of Painted Buntings before and was pretty sure they weren't in my range but I was CERTAIN that I was looking at a beautiful male Painted Bunting just like the photos I had seen, and it was only a few feet away from me. I reached for my camera but the bird flew off before I could get a photo so I only had a few seconds of viewing this bird. It was easy to verify that Painted Buntings were way out of range so I started looking for more likely candidates. I couldn't find anything that matched the bird I saw but the closest candidate I could come up with was a molting Summer Tanager. I reluctantly dismissed my rarity as wishful thinking and kicked myself for not being able to get a photo. It was months, or possibly a year later when I discovered that a Painted Bunting had been documented wintering in the next county over from where I lived. Did I see a rare Painted Bunting in Southern Ontario the same year that one wintered here? Hindsight tells me that I did actually see a Painted Bunting, range maps told me to dismiss that possibility though, which I believe ultimately lead me to the wrong ID at the time.

2 hours ago, DLecy said:

With climate change, there is little doubts that these graphs and charts will shift, but the default should always be to pay close attention to what the data is saying to you, and in some cases, screaming at you. 

I think the fact that we know there will be shifts and changes in the graphs and charts is reason enough to be open to the possibility that those shifts and changes can happen before the charts and graphs reflect those shifts and changes. I am not saying to ignore the charts and graphs, I am suggesting that an open mind should be used when interpreting them. 

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4 hours ago, DLecy said:

To say that birds don’t pay attention to range maps or statistics is very misleading IMHO, as these bar charts are informed by mounds upon mounds of real scientific data.

The ABA Rare Bird Alert seems to support my opinion that birds don't pay attention to range maps or statistics. In the first three weekly reports for June alone there are dozens of birds that have decided that they don't want to follow the scientific norm. https://www.aba.org/rba/

Bottom line to the point I am trying to get across, if someone closes their mind to the possibility of a rarity showing up somewhere unexpected because a bar chart says it has never happened before, they run a good chance of dismissing a possible rarity and never realize it. 

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I'm not trying to get on either side of this...

This is the Dark-eyed Junco page and there is one record of a junco there in June. Birds don't follow maps... On the other hand it is best to guess it is the common, as apposed to the rare.

image.png.e2e3b882c70d98364c1b409307e11df4.png

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2 hours ago, Kevin said:

I'm not trying to get on either side of this...

This is the Dark-eyed Junco page and there is one record of a junco there in June. Birds don't follow maps... On the other hand it is best to guess it is the common, as apposed to the rare.

"This philosophical razor advocates that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

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8 hours ago, lonestranger said:

I can't provide specific dates but about 5-10 years ago, I thought I saw a Painted Bunting in my Southern Ontario backyard. The bird landed on the top rail of a chain link fence right outside my patio doors. I had only ever seen pictures of Painted Buntings before and was pretty sure they weren't in my range but I was CERTAIN that I was looking at a beautiful male Painted Bunting just like the photos I had seen, and it was only a few feet away from me. I reached for my camera but the bird flew off before I could get a photo so I only had a few seconds of viewing this bird. It was easy to verify that Painted Buntings were way out of range so I started looking for more likely candidates. I couldn't find anything that matched the bird I saw but the closest candidate I could come up with was a molting Summer Tanager. I reluctantly dismissed my rarity as wishful thinking and kicked myself for not being able to get a photo. It was months, or possibly a year later when I discovered that a Painted Bunting had been documented wintering in the next county over from where I lived. Did I see a rare Painted Bunting in Southern Ontario the same year that one wintered here? Hindsight tells me that I did actually see a Painted Bunting, range maps told me to dismiss that possibility though, which I believe ultimately lead me to the wrong ID at the time.

That's not quite the same thing.

Painted Bunting - Species Map - eBird

Although rare overall, PABU is expected in spring in a narrow window in southern ON, though -- obviously -- not in any particular location. RLHA is of regular occurrence in some numbers in CO, but in a well-known period of time (~10 Oct -- ~21 Apr) with exceedingly few occurrences outside that period. Additionally, most of us know that birds do have wings and they do show up in odd places. However, it's not something to bet on, unless you like losing your shorts.

2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

"This philosophical razor advocates that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions"

Yes. Birders should really understand Occam's Razor. One can increase one's chance of running into a local rarity by understanding occurrence patterns and habitat preferences, but the chances are still poor.

4 hours ago, kansabirdguy said:

any idea on subsp.?

Given that the bird appears to have a dark throat, there's little reason to suspect that it's referable to anything other than the expected-for-the-location calurus, although definitive subsp ID of juv RTHAs is fraught with, if not peril, a goodly chance of being wrong. The farther east in CO you move that bird, the more likely it's an Eastern x Western mutt than a good Western.

There are no absolute plumage characters that distinguish Western (calurus) from Eastern (borealis) in adult plumages, much less in juvenile plumage. As we've messed so many things up, we have enabled the meeting of Western and Eastern over a broad portion of the middle of the continent that probably had few breeding RTHAs before colonial times.

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Folks, asking for more infomation about someone's ID opinion is fine. Criticizing them for not offering it without being asked is not fine. Discussing use of different tools for ID or other purposes is great. Criticizing people for using them is not great. If you think more information would be helpful feel free to provide it yourself. Personal criticism/attacks/vendettas do not belong in the forums.

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Not to add to the confusion, but after only seeing RLHA in late Fall to early Spring (Central NY), I had this one show up on May 21, 2021. Of course we've also had Yellow-breasted Chat, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, & Dickcissel since then, so you never can tell (all uncommon to our area).

340919531.jpg

Edited by MWM
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