Everyone:

As I mentioned a month ago, the MBRC has just made quite a few changes to the Annotated Checklist of Missouri Birds. Among other reasons, Mark Robbins's work on the revision of Birds of Missouri has produced a great deal of new data and shown that the Checklist needed updating on many species. We are, of course, trying to keep it in synch with the book.

I have a Word document that shows all the changes in two-column format, which I'm happy to send to anyone who would like to have it. I can't attach it here, however, and all the changes have already been entered, so the list as you see it online (http://www.mobirds.org/Birds/MOChecklist.aspx) is fully revised and up to date. 

Nonetheless, so that you can get an idea of what we have been up to, I have described the changes by categories, in paragraph form; see below. If your eyelids begin to droop, go outside and look at some actual birds.

Please remember that the Annotated Checklist is your first source for checking the "temporal occurrence" of any species (i.e., when it is supposed to be in Missouri and when not). The latest issue of Birding magazine contains an article by Tony Leukering on just this point: how basic and important it is to understand when a species will normally occur in your area. Ours may be the only official state checklist that conveys this kind of information.

The Checklist, of course, uses code symbols to summarize an entire state, a very broad-brush approach that includes no actual dates, but it is handy and gets you started. Beyond that, you can use eBird to investigate the pattern of any species, and you can visit Josh Uffman's site (showme-birds.com) to learn earliest and latest date info for a great many species.

So here is the summary I promised:


1) Some species have seen their status rise at certain seasons, mostly from accidental to casual. This creates no change in their "documentability"; all of them still need documentation for the season in question. These are (a) in summer: Canvasback, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, and Painted Bunting (summer or migration outside of the southwest); (b) in winter: Pacific Loon, Greater Yellowlegs (north & central regions), American Bittern, Green Heron, Fish Crow (outside of the southeast), and Rose-breasted Grosbeak; (c) in fall: Whimbrel.

 

2) Several others have had a similar "off-season" upgrade that took them from casual to rare; this means that, unless otherwise stated, the species no longer needs to be documented at that season. These are (a) in summer: Virginia Rail; (b) in winter: Eared Grebe, Rufous Hummingbird, Lesser Yellowlegs (Bootheel only), Franklin's Gull, Palm Warbler (southern half), Indigo Bunting (southern one-third), and Baltimore Oriole. While these no longer require documentation to the MBRC, an eBird reviewer or seasonal editor will want to know the details of any observations, and evidence for them.

 

3) Special case for geese: Based on a count of records, we still list Greater White-fronted Goose and Ross's Goose as casual in summer, but the numbers are rising; many of these are probably injured birds. The MBRC does NOT need to review summer records of these two species (or of Snow Goose), but they should be reported in seasonal notes to The Bluebird's summer-season editor.

 

4) Some species have had their status augmented with new elements, for various reasons. We have added SR a for Trumpeter Swan and Inca Dove (a nesting record for each); SR a (se) for White-winged Dove (belated recognition of breeding evidence); *SR (w) for Common Poorwill and *SR (se) for Anhinga (recognition of former breeding); [SR] for Mottled Duck (provisional; presumed breeding; see Am. Black Duck in next entry); WV a for Cattle Egret, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Lazuli Bunting (recent winter records); and SV a for Evening Grosbeak and Harris's Sparrow (recent summer records).

 

5) Two species have lost an element of their status due to probable misidentification: American Black Duck (summer occurrence deleted, including a nesting record; probably refers to Mottled Duck) and Red-necked Phalarope (winter occurrence deleted).

 

6) A few species have had their status split by season when it previously was not: Brant (accidental spring, casual fall), Clark's Grebe (casual in migration, accidental winter), and Red Phalarope (casual spring, rare fall).

 

7) One species had its status split by region when previously not: Say's Phoebe (casual west and central, accidental east).

 

8) On mobirds.org you find the Review List (RL) of species that need documentation whenever found in Missouri, with certain limitations on some species. Here are a few changes and/or reminders:

Black-necked Stilt: overall transient status rare, but on the RL for southwest Missouri and the Ozarks.

White-rumped Sandpiper: listed as rare in fall, but remains on the RL.

Red Phalarope: same.

California Gull: Continues on the RL though rare statewide.

Glossy Ibis: Rare statewide, but RL in fall.

 

9) Bachman's Sparrow: The Committee does not know of any current locations for this bird in Missouri, although a fair amount of suitable habitat certainly exists. From rare, its status has been changed to casual, which means that any record of Bachman's Sparrow needs to be documented, preferably with photographs or (if singing) an audio recording.


 

There are just a few other changes; they do not conveniently fit these categories, and none are of great consequence.

 

 Hope this is useful to someone! I should add that any suggestions for improvements to the Checklist are always welcome, with the caveat that the entries must remain simple and must reflect the whole state, or at least whole regions. Please send to me and I will see that they are given consideration (but please wait two weeks, as I'm going out of town tomnorrow).


Bill Rowe, Secretary, MBRC

St. Louis

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