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millipede

kiskadee question of sorts

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I TRIED to ask my local reviewer this complicated question but, like other times I ask questions of certain people, I get a reply that answers part but not all of what I asked. I'm REALLY curious about this.

So the other week I had a great kiskadee in my yard. I'm here in NW Arkansas and, well, that's unheard of. In fact, there are no state records for that bird so to see one right in my backyard is incredible.

But now, that will NOT be accepted to eBird until/unless the Arkansas review committee(not eBird) approve the sighting.
There's a problem with that, as far as my sighting getting validated goes. I have nothing but description and, though some people know my name I'm still something of a nobody in the birding community here. If the guy that leads the NWAAS field trips were to submit such a sighting, he likely wouldn't get questioned at all. But me, this is going to be VERY VERY questioned if not outright doubted.
My ID skills are not as good as some of theirs but, it's a bird you really can't confuse with anything local. 

So here's the story...(the "question" will follow...)

I was out in the yard birding with my daughter and a bird flew from the WSW, over my neighbor's yard. At that angle, the lighting was poor... gray sky behind it and nothing else. The yellow was not at all obvious to me with my naked eye, even though it wasn't that far off.(100 feet maybe) It somehow gave me the impression of a dove-like bird but seemed wrong, shape and size, so I said to myself(or even out loud to my daughter standing next to me) that IF it was a dove it HAD to be a eurasian collared dove because it was just the wrong shape(especially the tail) to be a mourning dove. Now a Eurasian collared dove isn't a big deal but I'm not sure we've seen one in our yard and I always like getting new yard birds so, I was complaining that it was flying behind the tree line and I figured I wouldn't see it again. But I followed it's line of flight and ended up seeing the bird land on a tree top. Not a HUGE bird but, not a warbler sized bird either. Landed on small branches that wobbled quite a bit so the bird had to find its balance. This tree top was still 100(+ -) feet from me, on a tree top with better lighting. Got my binoculars on it and... wow...  Brown back... yellow on the front/belly, and a black and white head. I'm not spectacular with birds that aren't around these parts but, that's an unmistakable bird. My daughter, standing next to me, didn't see it. But then it squealed/called.  She was like "what was that?" as I was likely saying "WOW!!!!!   The bird flew just a moment after calling and we never saw it again. There were storms rolling in and this was ahead of the storm(some BAD ones came through a while later actually, with tornado warnings and strong rotation like a block from here.) The bird headed ENE.
Anyway... My daughter was asking what it was so, as I was getting into merlin and looking it up I started giving the description. She was like "no...." Kind of in a doubtful shock as I was. Before we even discussed or mentioned out loud what bird it was, I played a few calls and found exactly what we heard in our woods... exactly. we were both kind of dumbfounded. What was it doing here?
Again... this is the kind of bird that you're not going to get confused with a goldfinch or something. This was, without a doubt, a great kiskadee.  My daughter, in fact, says she wishes it never made a sound because then she wouldn't have to believe what I saw. And she's the type that will NOT count a bird she doesn't see herself so, she's pretty mad. If there was any doubt in her mind as to what she heard she'd actually feel better. HA.

We did playback that day... and some the next... and, several other days just in case it was still in the area. Someone on our listserv suggested they typically respond to playback. Between how short a stop it made and the storms rolling through, I really didn't think it would show up again. I imagine it may have even been in another state later that day. Those storms were bad. Thankfully no actual tornadoes in my neighborhood but, it sure was close.


So, now the question... 

A sighting like this, anywhere this bird is not to be expected, is not going to actually show up on eBird until it gets approved. I was thinking, if someone, somewhere, would also see the bird, then my sighting wouldn't have to be scrutinized so strongly perhaps. I've been REALLY REALLY REALLY hoping someone, somewhere got a photo or at least reported a sighting. Nothing official anywhere so far. I've been watching the species map for that bird, for this Spring, and so far nothing is popping up outside its normal range.
So what I asked my reviewer...  is there any place where someone(in eBird or not) can view those unapproved sightings and then compare them and see a pattern that might "prove" the sightings are legit?  Like what if someone in Missouri also saw and reported that bird, the next day even... and, what if they too didn't have a photo so, that sighting isn't in the eBird data yet but is sitting at the desk of some reviewers that don't know what to make of it?
The sighting of mine isn't viewable by the public right now. Sure not announced anywhere. So if someone in the next state saw one they wouldn't have this data to back up such an idea. That really makes me wonder if there is some place that has all that data and at least one person that might be out there connecting dots when they have dots to connect.
Does this question make sense??? 

I feel like someone had to have seen the bird... yet at the same time...  back in January there was one in Indiana that got reported/seen by a LOT of people and somehow, not a trace of it anywhere between there and where it should have been. So that leaves me with the possibility that I was the ONLY person to see this bird. It could be back where it belongs right now or, it could have died in a storm, or...  who knows. We may never know. But I am still REALLY curious if there's anyone out there looking at UNofficial reports of such birds. I think having that ability would help some sightings get validated a little easier.

I turned in my report the other week but I don't expect to hear back from anyone for some time. I've heard of rare sightings just never getting approved so I don't really have my hopes set too high. But, I KNOW what I saw and what we heard so, it's on my personal life list now.
If that bird could have stayed in that tree for just 30 seconds more... I wouldn't have a great photo but I'd have a photo. So it remains one of the most awesome things I've seen and, one of the most frustrating at the same time. I just have to try and keep looking at the positive/awesome side of it so I don't get discouraged.  Was an amazing bird to see not matter what.

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Ebird does have the Rare alerts thing. When I view the one for my state, it shows all rare reports from the past week, both confirmed and unconfirmed. You could look at the one for Arkansas and then look at the ones for the surrounding states.

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Also, anyone signed up for rare alerts in your state and/or county was sent your report, so it wasn't just sent off into the oblivion of your reviewer's inbox. 🙂

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1 hour ago, meghann said:

Ebird does have the Rare alerts thing. When I view the one for my state, it shows all rare reports from the past week, both confirmed and unconfirmed. You could look at the one for Arkansas and then look at the ones for the surrounding states.

 

1 hour ago, meghann said:

Also, anyone signed up for rare alerts in your state and/or county was sent your report, so it wasn't just sent off into the oblivion of your reviewer's inbox. 🙂

Thanks. I just checked through my email and saw that an alert did go out for mine. Alert went out on May 1st. It looks like you can only view the last week if you go searching... but, I do already get the rare bird alerts for the "ABA rarities" so if one had been reported anywhere else, I supposed I would have seen that? Nope, never mind... that ABA rarities is for code 3 and above. I could check other states, one at a time, but it wouldn't go back far enough I think. I saw the bird on April 30 and it was sent out at a rare report on May 1. I might try anyway...

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it only goes back a week but I just checked Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York.  I think that's enough for now. I wonder where the bird ended up going after it left my yard...... 

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There are multiple sightings of a Greater Kiskadee with photograhic proof up in Indiana from January of this year listed on Ebird.

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There was a kiskadee celebrity here in Southern Ontario up until early December.  First record for Ontario.  It is widely believed that it headed south and is the bird on record for Indiana in January.  So perhaps it continued south after that.

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