FW: [CALBIRDS] THE most misidentified/mis-reported bird in California???


Tom Edell
 

This is certainly true for SLO County and something to consider when looking at summering gulls.

 

Tom Edell

Cayucos, CA

 

From: CALBIRDS@groups.io <CALBIRDS@groups.io> On Behalf Of lehman.paul@... via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2022 11:31 AM
To: calbirds@groups.io
Subject: [CALBIRDS] THE most misidentified/mis-reported bird in California???

 

Quick, what's the most misidentified bird in California?? I'd bet most folks quickly start thinking about empidonax flycatchers, peep, some large gulls....and that could be correct. For some time I've also wondered about a large percent of the unseasonal reports of Black & Vaux's Swifts (more likely poorly seen or poorly lit White-throatefd Swifts, Purple Martins) and unseasonal reports of Swainson's Thrushes. But, as an eBird reviewer, I just might have a new #1 vote: RING-BILLED GULL! Yep, there are simply gobs of poorly documented and likely incorrect reports of this species between May and mid-July (when migrants start reappearing), especially from the immediate coast and the largest inland lakes where this species is rare at this season in most regions, but where over-summering young California Gulls are numerous--and which show strongly bicolored bills. Many observers simply do not appreciate the fact that Ring-bileds are far, far outnumbered by Californias at this season (and throughout much of the year) in many areas, and they just "assume" otherwise. Again, this is most likely an issue near the coast. If one goes to some inland pond where people feed the ducks, perhaps the ratio of over-summering Ring-billed:California is higher. It is likely that a wholescale re-review of eBird data for Ring-billed in late spring and early summer is in order statewide. Anyway, we have now arrived at the season when there are pretty few Ring-billeds around, so if folks are looking for a little project for the next two months, check all your local gull spots--especially if you live near the coast--and try to find more than just a very small handful of Ring-billeds for the entire period, but likely plenty of young, ratty Californias with sharply bicolored bills!

 

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

 


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Tom Edell
Cayucos, CA

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