on reporting age and sex info with eBird reports, etc.


Perhaps it is time again for another plea from us eBird reviewers that observers should include age and sex information with their (eBird) reports ONLY if they have carefully given these designations careful thought and possible research. No harm at all in just leaving such info blank if you are not "certain." One particularly large problem is that faulty age and sex attributions are often very difficult to spot by reviewers because they are included for species that are not flagged. Certain species are mis-aged and/or mis-sexed a lot more often than others. A couple rarities that often befall this error are Black-throated Blue Warbler and especially Black-and-white Warbler. In regards the B-t Blue, immature males look 98% the same as adult males. They are ALL bright. Subtle differences only. And for Black-and-whites, males (including adults) do NOT have black throats in fall and winter, or at best they rarely have much reduced, partial blackish or grayish throats--and so such birds should not be reported as "females." Instead, look more closely at the auricular color, and also the sides and flanks. But these are just two examples. This problem is widespread in reports.

Unfortunately, many eBird submitters will never read posts to the listserv such as this one. But it's worth a try!

--Paul Lehman, San Diego