Oh No - It’s a Dowitcher!


Jim Chiropolos
 

Oh No! It’s a Dowitcher!

As I look at eBird reports (I am not an eBird reviewer) but I know many of them, I think there is no bigger problem in the birding community of identifying dowitchers. Most people who see a dowitcher positively identify it as either a long-billed or short billed dowitcher. Other birders, somehow, presumably ones who like big lists, whenever they see dowitchers, they always seem to identify both species of dowitchers if there are more than one. Obviously, there are some big problems in dowitcher ID - especially if they are not calling. I rarely see both species of dowitchers together, although it does happen, especially on migration.

If you do not know for sure which dowitcher “sp” it is, it is best to identify it as dowitcher, “sp”. My experience is many of the dowitchers on the bay are short billed, and dowitchers on freshwater ae more often than not long-billed. Birding my Emeryville patch, aside from migration where there is occiaisionally several long billed dowitchers when birds are moving, its almost always short billed.
Ebird lists are meant to be a tool for conservation, so mis id-ing dowitchers is a problem as it is showing their range incorrectly and population trends will not be based on actual information. Do not be part of the problem. I know that when I look at dowitchers, and I have stared at a lot, unless they are feeding and close-up I am not comfortable with their ID. So think about this email next time you are looking at dowitchers and you want to put the identity down as a dowitcher species. These lists are looked by many people who all have their ideas based on their observations, and the people that accept that they cannot positively identify every bird are accorded more respect than lists with poorly identified birds. If you are a photographer, take good pictures and send them to someone who knows feather patterns. (please not me however).

Its hard being a citizen scientist - but pretty cool too.

Good Birding!
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Graham Chisholm
 

Thanks Jim, I would recommend a on-line presentation by Jon Dunn to the Los Angeles Birders on exactly this issue -- Dowitcher identification -- it is archived and available for your viewing pleasure:  https://www.labirders.org/webinars/dowitchers.html

Graham Chisholm
Berkeley, CA



---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 4:58 PM
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Oh No - It’s a Dowitcher!
To: <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>


Oh No! It’s a Dowitcher!

As I look at eBird reports (I am not an eBird reviewer) but I know many of them, I think there is no bigger problem in the birding community of identifying dowitchers. Most people who see a dowitcher positively identify it as either a long-billed or short billed dowitcher. Other birders, somehow, presumably ones who like big lists, whenever they see dowitchers, they always seem to identify both species of dowitchers if there are more than one. Obviously, there are some big problems in dowitcher ID - especially if they are not calling. I rarely see both species of dowitchers together, although it does happen, especially on migration.

If you do not know for sure which dowitcher “sp” it is, it is best to identify it as dowitcher, “sp”. My experience is many of the dowitchers on the bay are short billed, and dowitchers on freshwater ae more often than not long-billed. Birding my Emeryville patch, aside from migration where there is occiaisionally several long billed dowitchers when birds are moving, its almost always short billed.
Ebird lists are meant to be a tool for conservation, so mis id-ing dowitchers is a problem as it is showing their range incorrectly and population trends will not be based on actual information. Do not be part of the problem. I know that when I look at dowitchers, and I have stared at a lot, unless they are feeding and close-up I am not comfortable with their ID. So think about this email next time you are looking at dowitchers and you want to put the identity down as a dowitcher species. These lists are looked by many people who all have their ideas based on their observations, and the people that accept that they cannot positively identify every bird are accorded more respect than lists with poorly identified birds. If you are a photographer, take good pictures and send them to someone who knows feather patterns. (please not me however).

Its hard being a citizen scientist - but pretty cool too.

Good Birding!
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda





--
Graham Chisholm
c. +01-510-409-6603