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FLORIDABIRDS-L  February 2014, Week 2

FLORIDABIRDS-L February 2014, Week 2

Subject:

Re: GBBC this weekend

From:

David Hartgrove <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Hartgrove <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 13 Feb 2014 23:02:56 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (23 lines)

Hi,
  Earlier today Rex Rowan sent out a note to his Alachua list regarding the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend. He offered a friendly word of advice that those watching e-Bird may want to be on the lookout for possibly false reports due to over enthusiastic folks reporting birds not likely to be here. It reminded me of an event from some years back.

  About 15 years ago I got a call from our then chapter president, Lois Robinson, asking if I'd go look at a video a man had called her about. He lived in one of the older subdivisions here in Daytona Beach and the Chevrolet dealer, whose property abutted the edge of this neighborhood, was planning on expanding his car lot. The little home owner's association was feeling overpowered. Lo and behold, it turned out that this guy had not only Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in his yard but an Ivory-billed too. These endangered species were sure to save the day for the home owner's association. Lois had tried to explain that this was extremely unlikely but he was adamant. I arranged to meet him at his house and when I arrived he invited me in. He turned on his TV and plugged in his VHS tape. He hit the fast forward button and we watched until the first bird appeared on the screen hanging on the side of a large oak in the backyard. It was clearly a Pileated Woodpecker. I asked him to pause the tape and then I opened a copy of the old Peterson guide I had with me. I showed him the differences in the book between PIWO and IBWO and pointed out why the bird on the screen was not an IBWO. He was reluctant to admit that he had been mistaken but eventually seemed to accept the obvious. He said then that he was sure of the ID of the other bird. He hit the fast forward button again and soon we were looking at a nice male Downy Woodpecker hanging on the side of his feeder. You could even hear the bird's calls just before it flew into view. I again asked him to pause the tape and I pointed out why his bird was not a RCWO since it lacked the large white cheek patch and had a different feather pattern on its back. He was throughly deflated at this point. We walked outside and as I walked out toward my car he thanked me for coming over. Two days later the president of the home owners association called Lois again and said they wanted a second opinion.

  I'll be doing the Atlantic Coast Shorebird Count tomorrow and watching my backyard on Saturday. Have a good weekend all!

David Hartgrove
Conservation Chair/Pelican Editor,
Halifax River Audubon
Daytona Beach, FL


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