North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO3 2016

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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Page 40 of 211

Figure 14. This adult Nazca Booby photographed with Brandt's Cormorants on the first day of its 20-21 May 2015 stay on Anacapa Island, California is only the third to be found in the United States. Photograph by Tim Hauf. Figure 15. Minnesota's first confirmed Tropical Kingbird stayed at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, Scott County 24 June through 15 (here 7) July 2015. In the eastern part of the continent, there now seems to be a late spring/ early summer vagrancy period in Tropical Kingbird, in addition to the late autumn period (from which an earlier Minnesota record of a silent Couch's/Tropical was made). Photograph by Matt Stratmoen. V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 351 T H E C H A N G I N G S E A S O N S : R E T R O S P E C T species once confined to southeastern Ari- zona, e.g., a Crescent-chested Warbler north to Yavapai County 16-17 May this year. Of course, for the northern-tier of the Lower 48 states, and the southern tier of Canada, species such as Blue Grosbeak and Summer Tanager are the colorful birds that steal the show, as records inch northward every year (including 2015). Back in 1996, we never imagined that Crested Caracara would barnstorm the con- tinent, from California to British Colum- bia (Figure 11), across the interior of the continent, with even a few records north to Alberta, northern Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia. The dozen or so states lacking records seem likely to get them in the next few years. The species has been expanding northward in Arizona and especially Texas, and these seem to be the most likely sources (with Mexico) of post-breeding wanderers, which make up the majority of extralimital records, rather than Florida, which has a small population that does not appear to be increasing but that does produce a few birds out of range. It will be fascinating to see what happens with this species, a generalist flexible in its foraging but perhaps limited in its capacity to expand breeding range north- ward by other factors. Perhaps even more than by seabirds, the past twenty years were defined by increas- (10%). As a group, seabirds are thus more imperiled overall than even parrots (26%), doves (19%), and raptors (18%). We will continue to make new discover- ies off our shores in the pelagic zones, par- ticularly as ocean current systems begin to respond more profoundly to the warming. But we should not be under any illusion that many of these discoveries are occasion for unalloyed celebration. Some of these species are very likely lose their nesting grounds to sea level rise, perhaps some in our lifetimes. So they live on borrowed time. The Present: 2016 Twenty years ago, birders living in or visit- ing Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona knew to comb habitats there for essentially Mexi - can species; we had already seen Rufous- capped Warbler, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Slate-throated Redstart, Blue Mockingbird, Fan-tailed Warbler, and Flame-colored Tan- ager begin to make inroads, and it stood to reason that more searching could produce more. As of 2016, we certainly have more of those turning up in the United States, along with suspected or confirmed nest - ing Sinaloa Wren, Nutting's Flycatcher, and Tufted Flycatchers (Figure 10), with Brown- backed Solitaire, Gray-collared Becard, and Pine Flycatcher thrown in for good measure, plus increasingly northerly records of many during a time when the species does not appear to be expanding its range in South America, though some local populations ap- pear to be increasing as a result of human activities (Yorio et al. 2016). Whatever the fate of the nesting birds, birders who concentrate on gulls now scru- tinize large dark-backed gulls carefully for Kelp Gull. Our erudition as a group has grown exponentially when it comes to large gulls, despite their many challenges. And when we compare Peter Harrison's Seabirds: An Identification Guide (1983), the main au - thoritative reference for seabirds into the 1990s, with Howell's Albatrosses, Storm- Petrels, and Petrels of North America (2012), it's clear that we have also made a quantum leap in our understanding of the identifica- tion and distribution of tubenoses in these few decades. As with the "southern" birds north of normal range, we may have the sense that avifaunal biodiversity is augmented each year, as the checklist grows and records of formerly unheard-of birds accrue. But we deceive ourselves if we believe that we live in a golden age, with an embarrass- ment of riches. According to the 2016 State of the Birds report, half of North America's seabirds merit Watch List status: their de- clines indicate a path toward extirpation or extinction. Half of them. And worldwide, the situation is the same. According to Bird- Life International, of 346 extant species of seabirds, 52% are experiencing population declines. Of those, 97 species are globally threatened (28%), 17 are Critically Endan- gered (5%), and 35 are Near Threatened

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