In addition to jogging my memory about the existence of the call note audio
file, the recent discussion of Gray-cheeked/Bicknell's thrushes has
prompted me to consider whether we are too frequently and quickly assigning
observed birds to Gray-cheeked as a default identification.

I think we should consider this situation to be analogous to the
Rufous/Allen's identification dilemma.  It was only a few year's ago,
before Allen's were confirmed to occur in the Southeast, the default
identification of Rufous was widely assumed.  Now, even though we
understand that probably 90 percent or more of fall/winter Selasphorus are
Rufous, we have wisely begun to refer to most non-adult males as
Rufous/Allen's, unless they are clearly photographed or examined in the hand.

Even though the FOS Records Committee has not accepted Bicknell's on the
official state list, I think it can be assumed that the species probably
occurs on an annual basis in the state, but probably mostly (exclusively?)
on the Atlantic coast.  This is based on the assumption of a mostly
over-water flight from the Canadian Maritimes/New England to the Greater
Antilles.  Returning to the Rufous/Allen's analogy, it may even be
reasonable to assume that more than 10 percent of the "Gray-cheeked"
observed along the Atlantic coast are Bicknell's.

So if we are satisfied with assigning ambiguous birds to the Rufous/Allen's
slot, why are we not using the Gray-cheeked/Bicknell's slot for these
thrushes if they are not positively identified?  It is certainly no less a
problematic identification issue.

As always, comments are welcome and criticisms will be handled on a
case-by-case basis.

Noel Wamer
Jacksonville, FL, US
Mosaics by Noel & Terry -

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