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Rick Wright
Interests: Birders, birding, birds. Maybe even in that order.
Recent Activity
The Snyder and Fry paper is really persuasive, isn't it? For some reason, it's got very little "play" out there, but I hope it eventually changes lots of minds.
Toggle Commented Jun 29, 2013 on North America's Oldest New Bird? at ABA Blog
Are there any more photos? It looks like a white "sport" Wood Duck or Mandarin Duck on my screen.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2013 on Call Duck at Phairs Pond at Celery Farm and Beyond
Nathan Pieplow (nomen, omen) gets my convinced vote for cage-rattler of the year. Not only is his blog unfailingly well written and fun to read, but he is one of the best unseaters of settled opinion out there, continually forcing us to think about the things we think we "know." I haven't r e a l l y paid attention to yellowlegs vocalizations for years (they're easy, right? I learned them as a kid, right?), but Nathan's given me something else to pay attention to and to enjoy this spring. Great work.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2013 on Blog Birding #128 at ABA Blog
That's exactly what it will come down to, Nick. I can imagine members of the committee saying yes, we're convinced, but we need a skin, or at least a fossil femur. In a way, the issue was anticipated by the proposal discussed here: , which did not, if I remember right, pass. Of course, there are lots of birds that were originally and authoritatively described from paintings, but I can't offhand think of one whose entire "specimen" record remained on canvas.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2013 on North America's Oldest New Bird? at ABA Blog
A review of Snyder and Fry, Validity of Bartram's Painted Vulture (Aves: Cathartidae). Zootaxa 3613(1):61-82. I bet it's been a while since you've seen a Small-headed Flycatcher, or a Townsend's Bunting, or a Carbonated Warbler. But I'm equally sure that most of us have heard of those birds, "nonce species"... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2013 at ABA Blog
Thanks, I'll have a listen! Cyberthrush, you make a good point, one touched on by Hitt too: It's been a long time since field identification was among the skills required of an ornithologist.
Toggle Commented Feb 4, 2013 on Who You Callin' Amateur? at ABA Blog
Dear Madeline, Just talked to Princeton UP, and there's no schedule for a Kindle edition of HiF. But we can always hope!
Dear Madeline, Just talked to Princeton UP, and there's no schedule for a Kindle edition of HiF. But we can always hope!
I didn't know there was one. I can't find it on the Amazon page, but I'll ask PUP and let you know. Thanks for asking, Madeline!
Pacific Loon is a great bird, period, and regular in AZ, even in Pima County. This one is now in a freezer, having died a couple of days ago.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2013 on Rare Bird Alert: January 25, 2013 at ABA Blog
One of the most often misidentified birds in NJ. Looks like it wishes it were in Georgia on a snowy day.
That's a good question, Ken. I'm guessing that some reader out there will have prepared an errata sheet and put it on the web, but I haven't seen it yet. Let me know if you find it first!
"Origin unclear"? Tell us more. While birds in the east are usually suspected of being -- and sometimes can be proved to be -- escapes from careless captivity, Common Cranes in large flocks of Sandhill Cranes in the west and midwest are certainly Pompeian. I spent a lot of time looking for this species in southeast Arizona; it's only a matter of time.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2013 on #ABArare - Common Crane - Nevada at ABA Blog
W H O A ! What a bird!
Thanks, Josh!
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2013 on Blog Birding #117 at ABA Blog
Me too (meaning: me too, I'm going birding). But I would argue, and think that I have, that birding IS time spent talking about words.
Eloquent headlines that would make no sense at all if the revisionists had their way.
Or try this: go to and conduct a search for "re-introduction." You'll find hundreds of papers over the decades by authors like Bruce.
Really? Well, I may have to reconsider--there are now three people out there who understand the word that way.
Sometimes we dream up problems just to solve them--and then don't solve them very well. Consider this minimal pair: Ruffed Grouse were re-introduced to East Averna. Ruffed Grouse were introduced again to East Averna. Completely different, aren't they? And completely comprehensible, logically, intuitively, and pragmatically. If some linguistically naive bee in one's bonnet still wants one to avoid saying "re-introduced," then we'll need an alternative that isn't semantically pre-occupied. "Repatriation" already has the meaning used by zoo administrators and morticians, namely, the return of an individual to its home. "Re-establishment" is already used to describe the state achieved at the end of a successful re-introduction project. And "reinforcement" designates the adding of individuals to an extant population. Until I can be convinced that there's a need for an alternative and that there is a clear and superior alternative to "re-introduced," I'll continue in the company of the Oxford English Dictionary, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the hundreds of thousands of birders who use these terms sensibly and correctly every day.
Excellent, excellent choice for BotY! And a great video to kick things off right.
A sweet little Sharp-shinned Hawk, seeking whom it might devour. Even at this angle, you can see the large eye, small bill, and steep forehead--and look at those sharp shins!
Do you know the old joke from railroad days? Conductor calls out "TUScola!" Then he calls out "ARcola!" Passenger looks up and says "What's next? COCAcola?" Conductor says nothing, but a few minutes later calls out "Champaign!"
Apparently the VT/NY Common Pochard is wearing a plastic band of a type used by waterfowl collectors. I don't know whether anyone has been able to rule out definitively the possibility that it is an "auxiliary marker" placed on a wild bird, but at this point I think a lot of people have decided to save the gasoline. Bummer.
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2013 on Rare Bird Alert: January 4, 2013 at ABA Blog
New Jersey's Pink-footed Goose was seen today, I understand.
Toggle Commented Dec 14, 2012 on Rare Bird Alert: December 14, 2012 at ABA Blog