Share Your Photos Night!
Host: Kevin McGowan
Club members can each share a maximum of five photos during their three minutes on the stage. Send your photos by January 4 to Kevin at email@example.com. The Subject Line on the email MUST BE “Bird club photo submission Jan2017.” Kevin will send an acknowledgement when he receives them. IF you do not get an acknowledgement, contact Kevin again WELL before the meeting date. Remember, you must attend the meeting to show your photos. Don’t be shy! Share! Although photo submission is limited to club members, the meeting is open to all!
The meeting will be held at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Doors open at 7:00 pm and there will be cookies and conversation starting at 7:15. Bird club business begins at 7:30 pm followed by the presentation.
Fairy Tern, Lord Howe Island, Australia
Happy New Year Cayuga Birders!
If you are like me, you are appreciating the new beginning that the New Year brings. New birds, new resolutions, new opportunities. What will be your first new bird of the year? Will you resolve to do more birding in 2017? Will you engage in the new Sister Bird Club network that is starting up? Whatever your new beginnings, I hope they are happy and fruitful!
A new year also brings our annual Christmas Bird Count on January 1st. This opportunity to get out and bird early in the year is always fun. There are fun birds to see, great camaraderie to experience, and lots of anticipation about what birds and how many we will see. I hope most of you reading this message were able to participate.
On January 9th, we will have our annual member photo night. Club members can share a maximum of five photos during the 3 minutes you will have to take the stage. Send them by January 4 to Kevin McGowan at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Subject Line on the email should be “Bird club photo submission Jan2017.”
I also am working on a webpage to support the Sister Bird Club Network linking clubs here in North America with Clubs in Central America (and farther south, too). I will be giving a presentation about the Network at our March meeting. In the meantime, please let me know if if you want to help get it off the ground.
May all your birding this year bring you excitement, awe, and a special connection with birds and birders wherever your are.
photo by Jay McGowan
This year's Ithaca Christmas Bird Count, organized by the Cayuga Bird Club, was held on January 1, 2017. We had 134
participants out in the field counting birds, and another 14 reporting from their feeders at home. Within our 15-mile count circle, a total of 88
species were found on count day. In addition, Black Scoter, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Glaucous Gull, Tundra Swan and Eastern Towhee have been found during count week, to bring our total thus far to 94 species
. Other birds noted included scaup species, gull species, and Mallard x Black Duck hybrids. The total species number may change, as additional species seen by January 4 are added to the count.
At the Compilation dinner at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Paul Anderson tabulated numbers of individuals for each species as the area coordinators read off their numbers. The preliminary total for the January 1 count is 41,876
individual birds. This is higher than our average count (37,638 over the last 10 years). Rough count numbers for each species are provided below. Some numbers may later be refined if it seems birds were counted by multiple parties of observers. "High" means that this is the highest number Ithaca has ever recorded on a Christmas Bird Count. Details for some of the more unusual sightings will be posted on the Cayuga Bird Club yearly first records web page
A notable new bird for the Ithaca Christmas Bird Count was a Ross's Goose
, found by Ken Rosenberg at Stewart Park. This species, rare for Ithaca, was seen by many other birders that morning and the following day.
Ross's Goose, Ithaca, photo by Jay McGowan
Christmas Bird Count Numbers, 1/1/2017
SNOW GOOSE - 7,764
ROSS'S GOOSE - 1* (Not previously seen on a count day!)
CANADA GOOSE - 4,946
GADWALL - 4
AMERICAN WIGEON - 3
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK - 43
MALLARD - 1321
NORTHERN PINTAIL - 4
REDHEAD - 4,221
RING-NECKED DUCK - 4
LESSER SCAUP - 2
LONG-TAILED DUCK - 3
BUFFLEHEAD - 27 (High)
COMMON GOLDENEYE - 98
HOODED MERGANSER - 67 (High)
COMMON MERGANSER - 125
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER - 4
RUDDY DUCK - 30
RUFFED GROUSE - 8
WILD TURKEY - 254
COMMON LOON - 4
PIED-BILLED GREBE - 7
HORNED GREBE - 6
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT - 7 (High)
GREAT BLUE HERON - 3
TURKEY VULTURE - 57
BALD EAGLE - 3
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK - 6
COOPER'S HAWK - 15
RED-TAILED HAWK - 148
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK - 3
AMERICAN KESTREL - 4
MERLIN - 1
PEREGRINE FALCON - 3
AMERICAN COOT - 268
RING-BILLED GULL - 215
HERRING GULL - 600
ICELAND GULL - 1
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL - 2
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL - 115
ROCK PIGEON - 1438
MOURNING DOVE - 841
EASTERN SCREECH-OWL - 40
GREAT HORNED OWL - 12
BARRED OWL - 1
BELTED KINGFISHER - 7
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER - 216
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER - 1
DOWNY WOODPECKER - 337
HAIRY WOODPECKER - 130
NORTHERN FLICKER - 13
PILEATED WOODPECKER - 55
NORTHERN SHRIKE - 2
BLUE JAY - 586
AMERICAN CROW - 5,634 (probably higher than this based on roost numbers during count week)
FISH CROW - 6
COMMON RAVEN - 30
HORNED LARK - 45
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE - 2,591
TUFTED TITMOUSE - 559
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH - 60
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH - 456
BROWN CREEPER - 20
CAROLINA WREN - 41
HOUSE WREN - 1 (only the second time this has been reported on count day)
WINTER WREN - 2
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET - 6
EASTERN BLUEBIRD - 176
HERMIT THRUSH - 1
AMERICAN ROBIN - 541
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD - 22
EUROPEAN STARLING - 3,953
CEDAR WAXWING - 152
SNOW BUNTING - 161
YELLOW-RUMPED (MYRTLE) WARBLER - 1
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW - 361
SONG SPARROW - 28
SWAMP SPARROW - 1
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW - 106
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW - 1
DARK-EYED JUNCO - 968
NORTHERN CARDINAL - 399
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD - 1
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD - 4
PURPLE FINCH - 1
HOUSE FINCH - 272
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH - 747
HOUSE SPARROW - 439
Also noted during the compilation:
Mallard X Black Duck - 3, Scaup sp. - 7, Gull sp. - 7. A notable miss this year was Northern Harrier.
The Ithaca Christmas Bird Count numbers will be reported to Audubon as part of the larger national Christmas Bird Count. You can explore results from other areas, view photos, and get more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count here
Short-eared Owls Field Trip Report
Ten warmly dressed birders, one driving through blizzard-like weather in Syracuse, joined me in search for Short-eared Owls on Lake Road near the Long Point Winery. We arrived at the winery around 3:45 P.M. The first birds we saw were a pair of Northern Harriers and a Red-tailed Hawk flying around the fields south of the winery. After awhile searching unsuccessfully there, we walked down the road to where we could see fields on both sides of the road. As it got dark, a snow squall developed. We headed back to the cars and drove to where we could view both fields. Unbeknownst to me four members of our group had headed home. After a short while sitting in the warmth of our cars watching the fields on both sides of the road, we saw the first owl in the field opposite the winery. That was around 5:00. We all got out of the warmth of the cars and eventually viewed three owls together. Shortly after seeing those owls, a couple of us noticed a male owl on the other side of the road. Success!! Thanks to everyone who joined me!!!
North American Bird Species Name Changes in 2016
Summarized by Diane Morton
Each year, the names of birds undergo review and new names come into use. In North America, the American Ornithological Union Checklist Committee publishes a summary of these name changes, including those affected by splitting species, lumping them, or replacing old names with new ones.
While none of the recent changes affect names of birds likely to be found in the Cayuga Lake Basin, in your travels outside the area you may find some birds that now have new names. To help you keep up to date with these changes, we’ve outlined below the changes to common bird names that were made in 2016. These are from the 57th supplement to the AOU Checklist of North American Birds, by Chesser et al., The Auk, 133, 544-560.
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay and California Scrub-Jay are now distinct species, split from Western Scrub-Jay, based on differences in ecology, genetics, and vocalizations as well as evidence for selection against hybrids (Gowen et al. 2014). If you have seen a Scrub-Jay in Utah or New Mexico, for instance, you might add Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay to your list, while a Scrub-Jay in coastal California is likely a California Scrub-Jay. eBird’s species maps are useful for exploring the differences in range between these two bird species.
Leach’s Storm-Petrel has been split into three species. Those in the northern part of the range, including the coasts of Canada and the US, will still be called Leach’s Storm-Petrel, but two forms that nest off the coast of Western Mexico will become known as Townsend’s Storm-Petrel and Ainley’s Storm-Petrel.
Additional new species added to the list because of splits from other species include Russet-naped Wood-Rail, Puerto Rican Parakeet, Lesser Violetear, Isthmian Wren, Canebrake Wren, Blue-capped Motmot, Lesson’s Motmot, Whooping Motmot, Choco Sirystes, Costa Rican Warbler, and Tacarcuna Warbler.
Just one species has been lost by merger with another species: Caribbean Coot is no longer considered separate from American Coot.
Rufous-necked Wood-Rail has been added to the list of species known to occur in the United States.
The checklist committee also made some changes to common names based upon global usage. The Sky Lark of British Columbia will now be call Eurasian Skylark, to conform with common use elsewhere. The new name for Orange Bishop, a locally common bird in Southern California, is Northern Red Bishop, as it is called in its native Africa.
Another big change that will affect future field guides is the order in which species will be listed. DNA analysis has provided more insight into the phylogenetic relationships between bird species. This new information has led to a reshuffling of the positions of some families, orders, and species within genera in bird lists.
Future splits and lumps? Recent papers have suggested that Yellow-rumped Warbler may be composed of four distinct species. Other research indicates that Common and Hoary Redpolls might be considered a single species. For now, those species names remain unchanged, but these may be put to the committee for decision in the next few years.
If you use eBird, or keep track of your bird sightings another way, it is useful to include subspecies information if possible. That way, if a species is split later, you will be able to update your list easily. eBird will automatically update for you if the split is based on unique ranges, but will do that “if and only if we can be 99.9% sure that we know which one you saw”. See the eBird Help page on this topic for additional suggestions on keeping your list current when species splits occur.
Cayuga Bird Club
Educating and inspiring the birding community of the Cayuga Lake Basin and Central New York since 1914
The Cayuga Bird Club meets on the second Monday of each month, September through June, beginning with refreshments at 7:15 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Johnson Center on Sapsucker Woods Road. All meetings and most field trips are free and open to the public. Membership costs $15 annually per household, $10 for students, payable in September. Payment may be made via Paypal at cayugabirdclub.org or by mailing a check to
Cayuga Bird Club, c/o Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca NY 14850.
Please include your email address (or addresses for family memberships) with your membership application to receive the club newsletter.
Members receive via email the monthly Cayuga Bird Club Newsletter, from September through June. Newsletter submissions may be sent to Diane Morton, email@example.com. Of particular interest are articles about local bird sightings, bird behavior, birding hot spots, book reviews, and original poetry, art, and photos.
Cayuga Bird Club Officer Contact Information is available on the Cayuga Bird Club website.
Chickadee illustration in masthead by Karen Allaben-Confer
Stay in touch with the Cayuga Bird Club through our Facebook page and Cayuga Bird Club Website!