Michael L. P. Retter, 2014 Chair, Indiana Bird Records Committee

During 2014, the Indiana Bird Records Committee (IBRC) completed evaluations of 39 Indiana bird records involving 22 taxa.  Records were evaluated in accordance with the Rules of Operation, most recently revised and adopted in June 2014 by the IBRC and Indiana Audubon Society (IAS).  (The Rules of Operation can be viewed at www.indianaaudubon.org.)  In general, all records are determined to be acceptable or not acceptable on the basis of available information provided by the observer(s).  Some records may contain additional information such as reviews by outside experts or articles or similar information providing background about the species.  If a photo, specimen, or recording of a song or call supports the identification, the record is considered to be an accepted verified record.  If acceptance is based on written documentary material, the record is considered to be an accepted sight record.  Of the 39 records completed in 2014, 35 were accepted as either sight or verified records and four were not accepted. One species (Calliope Hummingbird) was removed from the state’s Official Checklist, and two species (Lesser Sand-Plover and Calliope Hummingbird) were added. Information presented below for each accepted record includes the IBRC record file number, location of the sighting, number of birds, sex, age and/or plumage if known, date(s), names of observers submitting written or other evidence, and references to published photos. Records that were not accepted contain similar information and an explanation of why the record was not accepted.  Designation of a record as “not accepted” does not mean that the observers were incorrect in their identification.  Anyone desiring more information about these records should contact the current IBRC Chair. 

IBRC members during 2013 were David Ayer, Matt Hale, Jim Hengeveld, Amy Kearns, John Kendall, Rob Ripma (Chair), Evan Speck, and Lee Sterrenburg. Ayer and Ripma left the committee at the end of 2013. Ripma was replaced by Retter as Chair, and Ayer’s seat was filled by Kirk Roth.

IBRC members during 2014 were Matt Hale, Jim Hengeveld, Amy Kearns, John Kendall, Michael Retter (Chair), Kirk Roth, Evan Speck, and Lee Sterrenberg. Terms for Kendall, Kearns, and Sterrenburg expired at the end of 2014. Retter stepped down as Chair at the end of 2014 and joined the committee as a regular voting member, effectively switching places with Kendall for 2015, who served as Chair that year. Roger Hedge and Don Gorney joined the committee in 2015. Hale, Hengeveld, and Speck left the committee at the end of 2015. New regular voting members on the committee in 2016 are Brad Bumgardner, John Kendall. Amy Kerns, and Landon Neumann. Kirk Roth is serving as Chair in 2016.

            * –        acceptable verified record

            C –        correspondence/comments

            D –        written documentary information by this observer was

                        available for evaluation

            PPh –      photo(s) by this observer published in scientific or

                        semi-scientific journal was available for evaluation

            Ph –       unpublished photo(s) by this observer was available

                        for evaluation

            Video –    video recording by this observer was available for


            FWA-   Fish and Wildlife Area

            IAQ –   Indiana Audubon Quarterly

            NAB – North American Birds

Record Codes:

            ANPEM –         Accept–No Physical Evidence, Multiple Documenters

            ANPES-           Accept–No Physical Evidence, Single Documenter

            APE –               Accept–Physical Evidence

            NI –                  Not Accept–Inadequate Documentation

            NO –                 Not Accept–Origin Uncertain


Somateria, sp.

1590-COEI-001-LAKE2014           ANPES. Miller Beach, Marquette Park, Gary, Lake Co., one bird, 01 December 2014 (DDon Gorney). Originally submitted as a female-type Common Eider, the committee was not comfortable with certainty of a species-level identification given the distance (200–250m) from the observer. This is the 1st Common Eider record reviewed by the IBRC.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

1770-BBWD-012-MARI2014     APE. Eagle Creek Park, Marion Co., one adult bird, 28 May 2014 (D, Ph-Mark Welter, PhDon Gorney, PhAndy Belt, PhAidan Rominger).  A one-day-wonder. This bird appeared amidst of a small incursion of the species into the Midwest, with additional records coming from Illinois (14 in Kane Co.), Ohio (a small flock near Toledo), Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)

*1360-EUWI-005-STAR2014     APE. Kankakee State FWA, including Toto Road Marshes, one adult male bird, 27–28 April 2014 (DJohn Kendall, DKirk Roth, PhBob Huguenard).

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus)

*1550-HADU-001-MARI2014     APE. Marion Co., two female-type birds, 8 December 2014 (D-PhChuck Lunsford, PhJeff Timmons). The first record accepted away from Lake Michigan within Indiana. Other “inland” records came from Illinois and Pennsylvania this winter season.

Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

*1210-NECO-005-SULL2014     APE. Turtle Creek Reservoir, Sullivan Co., one bird, 6–9 April 2014 (Ph Steven Lima, D, Ph Marty Jones, D Kirk Roth, Ph Ed Hopkins).

White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)

*1870-WFIB-016-GREE2014     ANPEM. Goose Pond, Greene Co., two adult birds (one in alternate plumage, the other transitioning), 20–21 April 2014 (D-Ph-Kirk Roth, Peter Scott). One adult White-faced Ibis was reported by multiple observers at the same location on 26 April 2014 via eBird.

*1870-WFIB-017-LAGR2014     APE. Cobus County Park, LaGrange Co., one bird in non-breeding plumage, 10 May 2014 (DLeland Shaum, D-PhSam Plew,) Excellent and thorough documentation, in combination with photographic evidence, helped convince the committee of this bird’s identity. No hint of hybrid traits.

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

*1860-GLIB-018-JASP2014     ANPES. Along I-65 near White Co. line in Jasper Co., one adult bird, 17 May 2014 (DRoger Hedge). Description of dark eye and “pale blue lines” bordering face but not encircling eye were judged to be conclusive. No hint of hybrid traits.

*1860-GLIB-019-GREE2014                APE. Goose Pond FWA, Green Co., a breeding-aspect adult, 23–26 May 2014 (PhLee Sterrenburg, PhEvan Speck).

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

*1840-WHIB-015-MARI2014    White River at Holiday Park, Marion Co., one immature bird, 11 August 2014 (D-Ph Jan Luckett).

*1840-WHIB-016-HENR2014   Summit Lake State Park, Henry Co., one immature bird, 17–26 August 2014 (D-PhMark Welter, D-PhMike Timmons, D-PhDon Gorney).

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

*1990-TRHE-015-MONR2014     APE. Stillwater Marsh, Monroe Co., one subadult bird, 1 May 2014 (D-PhMark Welter).

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)

*3420-SWHA-017-MONT2014     APE. Lye Creek Prairie Burn, Montgomery Co., one subadult pale-morph bird, 6–18 April 2014 (D-Ph-John Mueller, PhGreg Miller, PhClint Murray, Ed Hopkins).

*3420-SWHA-018-PORT2014     ANPES. Indiana Dunes State Park, Lake Co., one immature bird, 24 April 2014 (D-John Cassady)

Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)

*3480-FEHA-007-GIBS2014     APE. Somerville Mine and Hemmer Woods Nature Preserve, east and south of Somerville, Gibson Co., one adult pale-morph bird, 22 January–12 March 2014 (DAmy Kearns, DKirk Roth, D-PhEvan Speck, D-PhMichael Brown, PhRobert Visconti, PhSteven Lima, PhJohn Pohl).

Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)

*2150-YEAR-1012-GREE201410          ANPES. Goose Pind Unit 12, Green Co., one bird, 25 October 2014 (DJerry Downs). Good description of a small, warmly-colored rail with no gray in plumage and with white secondaries.

“Mongolian” Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadrius mongolus mongolus group)

*2790-LRSP-001-LAPO2013     APE. One juvenile bird at Michigan City Beach, LaPorte Co. on 15 October 2013 (PhPeter Grube, DKenneth J. Brock, D,Ph,VideoCaleb G. Putnam, PhLynea Hinchman, PhMichael Retter, PhMatt Hale. PhMatt Hysell, PhJeff Skrentny, PhEd Hopkins) and Long Lake, Porter Co. on 21 October 2013 (D-PhJohn Kendall, DKirk Roth, D,VideoNathan DeBruine, PhPeter Grube, PhNolan A. Lameka, PhDan Duso). Originally discovered by Brendan Grube late in the morning of the 15th and present until sunset, when Hale, Retter, Skrentny, and Greg Neise watched it fly west and out of sight over the Lake. It was not seen at Michigan City Beach again. Miraculously, what is presumed to be the same the bird was rediscovered six days later by Jeff McCoy a county away on mudflats at Long Lake. The bird was last seen in the fading light of dusk that day by Nathan Goldberg, and was never to be seen again. The presence of a blackish lower border to the white “gorget”, dark scalloping on the flanks, “split” white forehead, and solidly dark tail band combined to convinced the committee that the bird was a member of the mongolus group of Lesser Sand-Plovers (either the subspecies mongolus or stegmanni), which may one day be split as Mongolian (Sand-)Plover. Most North American records come from the Pacific Coast, but other eastern records exist for Louisiana, Florida, Ontario, Virginia, New Jersey and Rhode Island. All North American records of this species are also thought to pertain to “Mongolian” Sand-Plover. An adult “Chandeleur Gull” was also on Michigan City Beach on the 15th, making for an interesting combination of birds!

Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus)

*0380-LTJA-030-LAKE2014     APE. Miller Beach, Lake Co., one near-adult bird, 6 September 2014 (DKenneth J. Brock, DJohn Kendall, PhAiden Rominger).

*0380-LTJA-031-LAKE2014     APE. Miller Beach, Lake Co., one juvenile bird, 13 September 2014 (DJohn Kendall, PhAiden Rominger).

Little Gull (Ciriocephalus minutus)

*0601-LIGU-007-LAKE2013     ANPES. Cobus County Park, Lake Co., one first-cycle bird, 22 November 2013 (DJohn Kendall) The committee agreed that this was a solid written description of a first-cycle Little Gull.

*0601-LIGU-008-SULL2014     APE. Turtle Creek Reservoir, Sulivan Co., one first-cycle bird, 2 November–? (DSteven Lima, DPeter E. Scott, D-PhChuck Lunsford, PhAdam Betuel, PhLee Sterrenburg, PhDon Gorney). The bird was still present as of this writing (13 March 2015).

Glaucous Gull (Tyrannus forficatus)

*0420-GLGU-005-STJO2014     APE. Lepper Park Duck Pond, South Bend, St. Joseph Co., one immature bird, 20 February 2014 (PhChuck Golubski).

*0420-GLGU-006-STJO2014     APE. Merrifield Park, St. Joseph Co., one adult bird, South Bend, 22 February 2014 (Ph-Casey Zillman).

Great Black-backed Gull (Tyrannus forficatus)

*0470-GBBG-003-STJO2014     Cobus County Park, Elkhart Co., one adult bird, 2 March 2014 (D-Ph-Mike Bourdon).

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides)

*0430-ICGU-001-GIBS2014     APE. Gibson Lake, Gibson Co., one immature bird, 8 April 2014 (D-PhAmy Kearns). The first record away from Lake Michigan evaluated by the IBRC.

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

*3190-WWDO-014-PORT2014     ANPES. Bird Observation Platform, Indiana Dunes State Park, Lake Co., one bird, 20 April 2014 (D-Brad Bumgardner). Bird flew west past the tower. Description of the shape, size, and location of the white wing patches consistent with this species. Seen in direct comparison with Mourning Doves. Other observers did not submit documentation.

Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)

*4360-CAHU-002-MONR2012     Private residence, Bloomington, Monroe Co., one first-cycle male, 7 November–8 December 2012 (D-PhJeff Belth, D-PhBrainard Palmer-Ball). Indiana’s “second Calliope Hummingbird” now represents the first accepted Calliope Hummingbird record from Indiana (see Unaccepted Records, below). No evidence of this record was proactively submitted to the committee, which explains the late evaluation. Measurements and photos, which are consistent with the species, were later sought out by the committee and graciously supplied.

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

*4330-RUHU-018-MONR2014     APE. Private Residence, Bloomington, Monroe Co., one adult male, 27 June 2014 (D-Ph-Cheryl Duckworth). Photos clearly show the back to be all rufous, eliminating Allen’s Hummingbird.

Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)

*3550-PRFA-012-GIBS2014     APE. Somerville Mine and Hemmer Woods Nature Preserve, east and south of Somerville, Gibson Co., 16 November  2014 (DDon Gorney, DAmy Kearns, DKirk Roth, PhAidan Rominger, PhMichael Brown). Discovered while looking for the concurrent Ferruginous Hawk.

*3550-PRFA-013-UNIO2014     APE. S Mt. Pleasant Rd. near CR-50S, Union Co., 26 January–22 February 2014 (DKathi Hutton, PhAllan Claybon). Discovered while looking for the concurrent Ferruginous Hawk.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

*4430-STFL-013-NEWT2014     Kankakee Sands, Newton Co., one female bird, 10 May 2014 (DKirk Roth, PhAidan Rominger). Seen by many other observers who did not submit documentation.

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)

*4620-WEKI-002-LAKE2014    APE. Evansville Regional Airport, Vanderburgh Co., two adult pairs and two young, 6 May–30 July 2014 (D-PhEvan Speck, D-PhMark Welter). Successful nesting of at least one of two pairs.

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)

*4900-FICR-011-MARI2014                  ANPES. Eagle Creek Park, Marion Co., two birds, 26 March 2014 (D Don Gorney). A pair of birds calling at it flew over. Observer noted a relatively long tail and distinctive, triplet calls, and a nasal voice, the last of which would be very unlikely to be produced by a fledgling American Crow given the date.

Spotted Towhee (Piplio maculatus)

*5880-SPTO-009-CASS2013     APE. River Run Trail, Logansport, Cass Co., one male bird, 19–21 December 2013 (D-Ph Landon Neumann, D-Kirk Roth, Ph Ed Hopkins, Ph Eric Ripma)  This is the 9th Spotted Towhee record evaluated by the IBRC. Note that pervious records were erroneously given the numeric species code “2630”—that of Spotted Sandpiper.

Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator)

*5150-PIGR-001-LAKE2014     Private residence, Merrilville, Lake Co., one adult male, 10 December 2014 (PhBob Cotton, DBrad Bumgardner, PhJohn Lindsey). A gorgeous one-day-wonder.


Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)

1750-BRNG-003-2014     NO. Eagle Creek Marsh, Marion Co., one bird, 27 and March 2014.  A flying bird was seen over Worster Lake. Photos showed that both halluces were missing—something often done to captive birds to mark them as such. The committee agreed that the lack of even one intact hallux cast enough doubt over this record to make it unacceptable on the basis of origin. Even so, we sincerely thank those who still took the time to submit this record, so that it may be reconsidered at a future date in the light of new understandings or evidence. It should be noted than many of the Canada Geese present also curiously seemed to have missing halluces. (An April 2011 record of a color-banded Barnacle Goose from Lake Co. has not yet been evaluated by the IBRC.)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

*1860-GLIB-020-VAND2014    NI. Eagle Slough, Vanderburgh Co. 20 September 2014. Amazingly good photos of this young bird could not rule out a White-faced Ibis or a hybrid with that species. Indeed, some committee members thought that the color of the facial skin (including a lavender supraloral line) and eye color pointed away from a pure Glossy and toward a hybrid. Identification of immature Plegadis ibises is in many cases impossible and made all the more problematic by the documented presence of hybrid birds in the center of the continent.

Green Violetear (Colibri thalassinus)

4271-GREV-003-VAND2014     NI. 15–17 October 2014. The committee agreed that the bird described in the very lengthy documentation could well have been this species, but a substantial portion of the committee thought that other possibilities (e.g., Green-breasted Mango, Magnificent Hummingbird) were not thoroughly eliminated.

Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)

*4360-CAHU-001-JENN2011     NI. Private residence, North Vernon, Jennings Co., one bird, 12 January 2011 (C-PhGreg York).Amazingly, even though this individual was seen by hundreds of birders while coming to feeders, only the bander took the time to submit documentation to the IBRC. This record was accepted in 2012 and reconsidered in 2014, when it was unanimously rejected based on a profound lack of evidence. The only information submitted to the committee was a vague statement from the bird’s bander conveying that its measurements were “largely consistent with Calliope Hummingbird”. The 2014 committee felt that this was inadequate for any review list species, let alone a first state record. Furthermore, subsequent expert analyses of the measurements and myriad photos (none of which was proactively submitted to the committee) are mostly in agreement that the bird was probably a hybrid Anna’s X Calliope hummingbird, a hybrid combination that has been documented both turning up in the East and stumping hummingbird banders and birders.


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