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I thought this might be of interest.

judy

David Sibley wrote:
>
> Hi All,
>
> First, Thank You! to all who have written to me privately or publicly
> with comments or suggestions on how to improve my guide. I kept working
> on this project for so many years because I truly enjoyed the process of
> learning and organizing all the information. Now that it's published I'm
> learning even more.
>
> The completion of every book is the result of many compromises. I knew
> my book would never be perfect, but I thought long and hard about every
> small and large decision. I'm extremely pleased with the way it turned
> out.
>
> I don't really consider the book done. To me it is more of a work in
> progress, a collection of my sketches, a summary of all the information
> I've gathered in thirty years of birding, and I look forward to adding
> to it. I will be working constantly to make corrections in each
> printing, and someday there will be a revised edition. To that end I ask
> anyone who has a comment or suggestion to please email me:
> [log in to unmask]
>
> In the next printing there will be some corrections to errors in "black
> ink", but there will only be a small number of corrections to the color
> plates.  I've listed here a few of the more significant corrections that
> are being made in the next printing:
> * "American" Magpie changed back to Black-billed Magpie
> * "Northern" Caracara changed back to Crested Caracara
> * There are apparently records of Cory's (dark morph) Least Bittern from
> Ontario and New York as recently as 1992, so that caption will be
> changed to read simply "very rare". I'm very excited by this news, as I
> had all but given up hope of ever seeing this color morph.
> * The label for "2nd year" Reddish Egret will be changed to "adult
> nonbreeding" and the bright-billed "adult" will be labelled "adult
> breeding". The bright colors are worn by an individual bird for a few
> months when breeding, which can happen almost year-round, but mainly
> about Jan to Jun.
> * The images of perched adult male and female Sharp-shinned and Cooper's
> Hawks should be different sizes to reflect the sexual size dimorphism in
> those species. Scans were inadvertently resized during printing and will
> be corrected.
> * The adult Clay-colored Sparrow image is too dark (apparently two scans
> are superimposed) and will be corrected.
> * The too-bright rufous colors will be tweaked on many pages
>
> The following topics seem to have generated a lot of discussion, and
> while there is no right or wrong answer to any of these, and I don't
> really want to get involved in the debate, I wanted to explain some of
> the reasons for doing the guide the way I did.
>
> Maps: There are certainly errors in the maps, and I'm anxious to hear
> about them. However, it is my impression that a lot of the criticism of
> the maps centers on the placement and the presence or absence of the
> green dots. The dots are truly meant to show continental patterns, not
> local records (though in some cases they are carefully placed, maybe
> that was a bad idea!). In general the idea was to let people know that
> if they saw a bluebird, for example, in New York it was overwhelmingly
> likely to be an Eastern, but Mountain was at least a remote possibility
> and Western was essentially impossible.
>
> For that purpose a random scattering of dots in the eastern US would
> suffice, but I tried to get a little more detailed than that. I did not
> think it was important to place every dot exactly, or even to confirm
> that state records were accepted, as long as the reports fit the general
> pattern for each species. Nevertheless I'd like to hear of ANY problems
> with the maps.
>
> People know their local region very well, much better than any book
> could ever represent. It's only natural for them to look carefully at
> their local patch on any map and to be very critical of the details that
> are wrong. Just for conversation's sake (or to stoke the entreprenurial
> spirit) I'd suggest any group of people with good GIS knowledge and a
> set of state breeding bird atlases, a set of christmas counts, and a
> stack of state bird books, connections to each rare bird committee, and
> a whole lot of time could develop a working data base and set of range
> maps for the birds of North America. There would be a pretty good market
> for these maps!
>
> Subspecies names: I'll probably continue to take criticism for this, but
> I stand by my decision to avoid using Latin subspecies names. The
> reasons are spelled out in some detail on my website - www.sibleyart.com
> - and I'll reiterate here. While there are a few cases in which
> subspecies are well-defined and consistently named (such as Short-billed
> Dowitcher and Lesser Black-backed Gull) the vast majority are much less
> clear-cut. I spent weeks working solely on this problem, researching
> names and groupings of subspecies, and found the results frustratingly
> inconsistent and unclear. When I came up with the idea of using the
> natural ecological regions to define subspecies groups it made my work
> much easier. It also helped me to understand the variation I had been
> studying for twenty years! In a sense it was like taking a step back
> from the detail of subspecies names and looking at the larger patterns.
> I feel that most observers should NOT use Latin subspecies names, as the
> names imply a kind of precision that is lacking in field observations.
> It is much more realistic to label a bird as typical of a certain region
> than it is to try to give it an exact subspecies name. Anyone who wants
> to learn the Latin names has many options of other books for that
> purpose.
>
> Again, this was not a snap decision - but it was what I felt was best.
> It may indicate a general weakness of character, but I can live with
> that.
>
> Humphrey-Parkes molt terminology: My reasons for avoiding this
> terminology are similar to the subspecies argument. In both cases I
> believe that experts should discourage casual use of technical terms. My
> experience with birders is that most simply substitute the
> Humphrey-Parkes terminology for the more intuitive "life-year" system;
> thus breeding equals alternate and nonbreeding equals basic. This is
> certainly not the case and using the terms in this way clouds their
> meaning. The Humphrey-Parkes terminology is an important tool meant
> to aid in the study of molt, and that is how it should be used. I
> encourage anyone with an interest in molt to learn it, as understanding
> the terminology and learning the correct way to apply it can enhance
> one's understanding of molt cycles. Applying it broadly in a field guide
> (to many species whose molts have never been studied) would be
> pointless. Finally, I suggest that anyone who disagrees should spend a
> few days trying to relabel all of the illustrations in the guide with
> H-P terms (watch for "worn definitive basic male Snow Bunting" and
> "definitive basic/definitive alternate Marsh Wren"). Note also the
> recent, and very logical, suggestion by Steve Howell in Western Birds
> for a significant revision of the Humphrey-Parkes terminology.
>
> I'm interested in following any discussion about my book. Please feel
> free to cross-post this message on other listservs; and again please
> forward or send to me any comments, suggestions, or corrections (but
> I'll be on the road for most of November, so don't expect a quick
> response).
>
> Finally, let me say again that I encourage any comments and discussion
> about the book, it can only lead to more knowledge and a better
> understanding of the birds. I have lots to learn about bird
> identification. If this book sparks us to go out and prove or disprove
> anything I've written, GREAT! Better still, I hope it sparks people to
> go out and learn lots of new stuff that none of us know now.
>
> Good Birding,
> David Sibley
>
> 355 Lexington Rd
> Concord, MA 01742
> [log in to unmask]
> www.sibleyart.com

--
Judy Fisher
Seminole, Fl
Located in Mid Pinellas County
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