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ABA Rare Bird Alert

Message added by Kevin,

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34 minutes ago, DLecy said:

Word is that it has been giving some Spotted Towhee calls. I'd wait until hybrid is ruled out before chasing it.

Yeah, I'd definitely wait a little while before chasing it, although I know I won't be able to. College getting in the way of birding again. 

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3 minutes ago, meghann said:

Yep, that's the buzz on Facebook, that there is a good chance of mixed parentage.


Yes, more plausible than a pure bird. Some really experienced and well-known birders were calling it an Eastern earlier today. Gotta be careful with a bird like that, which would be a potential state first record. 

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The California Eastern Towhee appears to be a pure Eastern, according to Ryan Terrill and Marky Mutchler on the San Diego County list


"This morning, the EASTERN TOWHEE continued in Jacumba, San Diego county. I
studied the bird and heard a number of calls for it, as did Marky Mutchler,
who grew up in the SPTO/EATO hybrid zone. Both of us share the opinion that
this bird is perfectly fine for an Eastern Towhee in plumage and call. I’m
willing to be convinced otherwise, but I’m kind of at a loss about why
there’s a discussion of hybridization at all in this bird."

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6 hours ago, Birding Boy said:

Sprague’s Pipit at Whitefish Point in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Appears to be a second state record. If it sticks for a week or so I may be able to chase.

Yep, was about to make today's post.


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Montreal, QUEBEC

Long-billed Dowitcher in St John's, NEWFOUNDLAND

Groove-billed Ani at Lake Tchida, NORTH DAKOTA (state first!)

American Woodcock in Cave Creek Canyon, ARIZONA (state first!)

Black-legged Kittiwake in Tuscon, ARIZONA

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21 minutes ago, Peromyscus said:

vis a vis the California Eastern Towhee

some papers on Eastern Towhee call mimicry (long, from the SanDiegoRegionBirding list)


Essentially the same post was on the CALBIRDS list with a different subject line. I imagine this may have appeared elsewhere, but I don't do elsewhere.

Yeah, the 1998 paper was linked in the FB discussion, and then someone said there's an in depth discussion going on in the Advanced Bird ID group on Facebook, but you have to ask to join that group, and frankly, I don't need more at this point to join. The paraphrase posted by the person talking about the discussion on the Advanced group was:

Of note,
1. there has indeed been work showing EATO mimic calls
2. There are identified eastern towhee in Macaulay that give the same low growl being called “definitive spotted call”
3. Philosophical discussion based on the fact that many GWWA/BWWA, Plegadis Ibis, Oystercatchers, etc are called one species or the other when they have been shown to contain significant amounts of genetics from both “species” when otherwise appearing pure (it only takes a few switches to some plumage genes and suddenly you’ve got a pure looking bird that contains a high percentage of dna from the “other” species). = slippery slope of defining what is and isn’t a species!


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Discussion is still rolling on Facebook about the Harris'. Meanwhile, here are some others, although I know by posting this early in the evening, more will get posted on FB as soon as I'm done and outside of the edit window. Lol.

Ruff in Fremont, OHIO

Lapland Longspur in Venice, FLORIDA

Great-tailed Grackle in Fall City, WASHINGTON

Say's Phoebe in Montgomery County, PENNSYLVANIA https://ebird.org/checklist/S97430078


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