Kirk Roth, Indianapolis, IN, Chair
Indiana Bird Records Committee
The following is a recap of the 2016 Indiana Bird Records Committee (IBRC) records and other activities of the committee.
There are some records from 2016 yet to be voted upon, it is expected that these will be sent to committee in late January. These include the Townsend’s Solitaire, a Long-tailed Jaeger, Little Gull, Pacific Loon (Lake County and Marion County), Prairie Falcon, Western Kingbird, and White Ibis.
There were several submissions this year for species which are not on the current review list, and these were not reviewed by the committee. These submissions were for the following species: Pileated Woodpecker, Harris’s Sparrow, Northern Goshawk, Great Egret (in December 2016) and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (in December 2015).
In 2015, the Black-tailed Godwit was added to the Indiana state list. The IBRC chair solicited opinions of shorebird experts from Europe and Australia on the subspecies identity of this bird. All agreed that it was more likely to be Limosa limosa islandica based upon several photographs. Their opinions will be archived with the IBRC record for this bird, along with the photos they were supplied. This information may be important in the future, as there is potential for a taxonomic split within this species. An article titled “The Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilis principalis) in Indiana” by Benjamin E. Leese was admitted to the archive.
The American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) made several taxonomic changes this year which affect Indiana birds. Early in 2017, the IBRC intends to update the state checklist in accordance with the order of the AOU list. Also, two vagrant Indiana species were split by the AOU. The former Green Violet-ear was split into the Mexican Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus) from Central America and the Lesser Violet-ear (Colibri cyanotus) from South America. Indiana records pertain to the Mexican Violet-ear and the state checklist was adjusted accordingly. The other split concerning a species with an Indiana record is the Western Scrub-Jay being split into the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) and the California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica). Available photos of the scrub-jay which occurred in Tippecanoe county in 1999 are inconclusive, showing characteristics like both California Scrub-Jays and Woodhouse’s varieties from Texas. Investigation into this record is ongoing.
Records reviewed in 2016: Thayer’s Gull, St. Joseph; 12/4/15; Accepted, Verified
Spotted Towhee; Putnam; 1/14/16; Accepted, Verified
Iceland Gull, St. Joseph; 1/29/16; Accepted, Verified
Slaty-backed Gull, Porter; 2/20/16; Accepted, Verified
Ruff, Benton; 3/27/16; Accepted; Verified
Ruff; Gibson; 4/3/16; Accepted; Verified
Neotropic Cormorant; Sullivan; 4/3/16 Accepted, Verified
Neotropic Cormorant; Marion; 4/21/16 Accepted, Verified
Cinnamon Teal, Gibson; 4/27/16; Accepted, Verified
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Monroe; 4/28/16; Accepted, Verified
Spotted Towhee, Putnam County, 23 January 2016. Photo by Kevin Cornell.
Fall 2017, page 13
White-winged Dove, Grant; 5/7/16; Accepted, Verified
Western Kingbird; Vanderburg; 5/8/16; Accepted, Verified
Ruff, Hancock; 5/8/16; Accepted, Verified
Kirtland’s Warbler, Porter; 5/10/16; Accepted, Verified
Ruff, LaPorte; 5/15/16, 5/16/16, 5/17/16; Accepted, Verified
Black Rail, Jackson; 5/15/16, 5/17/16, 5/18/16, 5/20/16; Accepted, Verified
Kirtland’s Warbler, Lake; 5/17/16; Accepted, Verified
Eurasian Tree Sparrow; Tippecanoe 6/19/16; Accepted, Verified
Swallow-tailed Kite; Owen; 7/26/16; Accepted, Verified
Swallow-tailed Kite (Lynnville), Pike; 8/13/16; Accepted, Verified
Swallow-tailed Kite (Petersburg), Pike; 8/20/16, 8/23/16; Accepted, Verified
California Gull, LaPorte; 8/31/16; Accepted, Verified
White-winged Dove, Parke; 9/1/16, 9/5/16; Accepted, Verified
Sabine’s Gull, Monroe; 9/12/16; Accepted, Verified
Brant, Lake; 9/16/16; Accepted, Verified
Yellow Rail, Porter; 10/6/16; Accepted, Single Documenter
Yellow Rail, Montgomery; 10/22/16; Accepted, Single Documenter
California Gull , LaPorte; 10/24/16; Accepted, Verified
Pine Grosbeak, Porter; 11/22/16; Accepted, Single Documenter
Neotropic Cormorant; Dearborn; 8/13/13 Not Accepted
Arctic Tern, Kosciusko; 5/26/15; Not Accepted
California Gull, Marshall; 12/27/15; Not Accepted
Great Black-backed Gull; Marion; 2/23/16 Not Accepted
Cave Swallow, Park; 4/3/16; Not Accepted
Ruff, Pike; 4/5/16; Not Accepted
Western Tanager; Porter; 5/17/16 Not Accepted
The IBRC re-evaluated the 2007 record of Audubon’s Oriole in Jefferson County. The record has been moved from “Origin Hypothetical” to the main list. Discussion of this record was contentious and led to debates regarding related topics as follows:
1) When should records be reconsidered. The bylaws stated that any record may be reconsidered for reasons stated in writing. Committee member John Kendall took issue that the precedent in his experience had been that new information must be presented, however nothing in the bylaws states this. After lengthy discussion, it was decided by the committee to amend the bylaws to require new evidence to be submitted in writing for a reconsideration.
2) A debate over the merits and utility of the “Origin Hypothetical” category itself was had, although little consensus was made. Opinions ranged from eliminating the category altogether to expanding the category, including Whooping Crane, Hooded Crane, Egyptian Goose, Barnacle Goose, Scaly-breasted Munia, European Goldfinch, Brown-headed/Pygmy Nuthatch, Audubon’s Oriole, “western”/California Scrub-jay and perhaps others. There was also discussion regarding whether the category should be changed in name or definition. As this was seemingly a major, important, and unresolved topic, the Chair promised to research the treatment given the category in other states and report options to the committee – some time in 2017.