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  am forwarding this important field ID information on pewees, phoebes, 
and empids from Dr. Remsen of LSU. I never knew this!
Jane Frazier
Jeff City


-----Original Message-----
From: James V. Remsen, Jr. <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: MissBird <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sat, Oct 5, 2013 3:52 pm
Subject: [missbird] Re: Possible willow flycatcher/empid vs. pewee vs. 
phoebe


MIssBird -- a couple of follow-up pointers on this group of birds, 
which are
chronic problems, created in part by the under-emphasis on behavior in 
the
current generation of reductionist-approach field guides.

1. pewees -- "always" sit on exposed perches from which they sally out 
into the
air for flying insects, typically 3-15 ft, often returning to the 
perch.
Olive-sided, which is really just a big pewee, takes this to another 
level,
picking high, exposed branches in canopy and making very long sallies 
10-30 ft
after flying insects.

2. empids --- "never" sit on exposed perches for more than a couple of 
seconds
and seldom sally to air, but typically to foliage and branches, seldom 
more than
5 ft, often less.  [Acadians in forest subcanopy can make longer 
sallies, but
still almost always to hard surface].  Empids infrequently return to 
same perch,
and in general are much wary and sneaky.

3. E. Phoebe -- foraging behavior somewhat intermediate.  Most sallies 
are to
ground or trunks or foliage, rarely to air.  Phoebe-pewee confusion is 
even more
rampant than pewee-empid confusion.  The all-black bill and very dark 
face of a
phoebe should also help minimize problems.

Additionally, assessing true color in this group seems exceptionally 
prone to
problems of ambient light -- an individual that looks greenish in 
foliage may
look much more brownish when it moves to harsher light.  Also, beware 
that E.
Wood-Pewee gives a soft "chit" note frequently misinterpreted as an 
empid "whit"
call.

More generally, I recommend watching how these birds behave, especially 
when
foraging, as much or more as plumage details, which are highly prone to
misinterpretation.

Van Remsen



On Oct 5, 2013, at 1:03 PM, "James V. Remsen, Jr." <[log in to unmask]>
 wrote:

> This is an Eastern Wood Pewee.  Classic pose and posture, juv. 
plumage (3 wing
bars), sitting on exposed branch, looking for flying insect.  I suspect 
that it
sallied from this perch into the air in pursuit of one while you were 
watching.
Empids virtually never do this.
>
>
> On Oct 5, 2013, at 11:51 AM, Mary Stevens <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>> Bill and I had good looks at a possible willow flycatcher oct 3 in 
our yard
in Vburg. We did not hear it call but gene knight thinks it might be a 
willow
rather than an alder. We saw him in the morning and again in the 
afternoon
flycatching.
>> Hear are the pics bill got.
>> Mary
>>
>>
>
> =================
> Dr. J. V. Remsen
> Prof. of Natural Science and Curator of Birds
> Museum of Natural Science/Dept. Biological Sciences
> LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
> najames<at>LSU.edu
>
>
> IMPORTANT ADDRESSES
>
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> List owner: Martha Swan  [log in to unmask]
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>
>
>
>

=================
Dr. J. V. Remsen
Prof. of Natural Science and Curator of Birds
Museum of Natural Science/Dept. Biological Sciences
LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
najames<at>LSU.edu


IMPORTANT ADDRESSES

Post message: [log in to unmask]
List owner: Martha Swan  [log in to unmask]
Unsubscribe: send email to [log in to unmask]
View archives: http://www.freelists.org/archive/missbird/




  

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