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Bob,
 
  Remember last year when I asked what would be Missouri's next state bird?  The answers were coming fast and furious, with details why their choice was the most logical.  I didn't save the answers, but they were ALL over the board!  But you know, i think I safely recall that Red-necked Stint wasn't on anyone's list...So,  the next bird is probably going to be quiet bizarre! Just hope I find the next one...
 
Leslie Keith Koller
Sikeston, Missouri
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Robert Fisher
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 6:28 PM
Subject: Be on the lookout for Cave Swallows

Whuda thunkit? A Red-necked Stint in Missouri in July? OK. Miracles do happen -- albeit rarely. But let's get real. That was last month. Now it's August. A more realistic expectation  for Missouri's next first state record is Cave Swallow. And now's the time to be on the lookout for them.
 
Kansas' first Cave Swallows, two molting juveniles, showed up at Cheyenne Bottoms roughly about this time last year. It took only two weeks for the next one to appear -- also at Cheyenne Bottoms. Once people start looking for birds, the chances that they will be noticed multiply exponentially.
 
When Tim Barksdale was around, he used to say "That means they're also in Missouri" whenever a new species showed up in Kansas. He said that when White-throated Swifts appeared in Lawrence, KS, and sure enough, one was found in Missouri. The same principle operated in reverse the year the Slaty-backed Gull showed up near the bridge to Alton, IL (i.e. what is now REDA). Kansans and western Missourians streamed east to see it and learned to identify Thayer's Gulls in the process. Within a year, the first Kansas record of Thayer's Gull occurred -- a bird photographed by Ted Cable. But that was just a beginning. There were six additional reports of Thayer's Gull in Kansas that year! And several Thayer's Gulls have been reported in Kansas every winter since then!
 
You get my point. Cave Swallow has now showed up in Kansas. It's time to look for them in Missouri.
 
Adult and juvenile Cave Swallows usually differ most strikingly from Cliff Swallows in that they have a pale throat. Dark-throated adult Cave Swallows occaisionally occur, however, as sometimes do pale-throated  juvenile Cliff Swallows. However, pale throated adult Cliff Swallows never occur, nor do paled-eared juvenile Cliff Swallows. If you think you might have a Cave Swallow, look carefully at its throat and ears.
 
Of course,  the  pale throat, ears and nape of a juvenile Cave Swallow -- the most likely age of Cave Swallow to appear in Missouri -- will distinguish it out as something quite different from the usual juvenile Cliff Swallow. Most juvenile Cliff Swallows have dark caps, faces, ears and throats. Likewise, the usual adult Cave Swallow's pale throat will mark it as conspicuously different from the usual adult Cliff Swallow. Also check out all square-tailed swallows with darker-than-usual rumps. A second look might reveal that it is a Cave Swallow.
 
We are now coming into the time of year when swallows finish nesting, disperse and stage preparatory to migrating. You can look over sizeable groups of staging Cliff swallows at leisure on the ground or on telephone wires. That's how Missouri's first Cave Swallow will probably be discovered.
 
Cave Swallows have rapidly been expanding their ranges northward from southern Texas and southern New Mexico. (No doubt they are being noticed outside their traditional ranges in part because more people are looking for them). I would not be surprised if they were to nest regularly in Kansas some day. By the logic of Tim Barksdale, they will show up in Missouri long before they settle down to nest in Kansas.
 
Neotropic Cormorants and Mottled Ducks are two other southern birds that showed up first in Kansas, then in Missouri. Cave Swallows may well be next.
 
Ready. On your mark. Get set. Go!
 
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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