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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Your field guide just went out of date, in a minor way

The order in which you find birds in identification books or checklists has been changed. 


Recent work on genetics is periodically reviewed by a committee of the American Ornnithologists’ Union. It makes changes. The order in which birds are listed is based on genetics. Name changes are based on discussion.


New books and lists will show Dickcissel as the last bird. Previously at the end of this line were House Sparrow and its far-less common relative the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (less common in North America). 


Sparrows now come ahead of the blackbird family. Warblers are placed ahead of blackbirds. Cardinals and tanagers precede Dickcissel.


Thayer’s Gull is no more. The identification problems often associated with that bird are gone. Thayer’s has been merged with the Iceland Gull. If you list, erase Thayer’s. If you count, subtract one.


Rivoli’s is the new name for what was the Magnificent Hummingbird. In a very minor change Le Conte’s Sparrow now is LeConte’s Sparrow. 


This information comes from a post made by David Cahlander to the web site and email list of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union. Thank you, Dave.


An odd Baltimore Oriole nest

This is the nest of a Baltimore Oriole, last year’s nest as far as I can tell. It appears to be built in large part with multi-colored strips of plastic, as found in pompoms or other decorative items. That's unusual. The nest is high in a cottonwood tree. A usual oriole nest would be made of grass and other strands of vegetation.

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