Thirty-seventh Annual Report of the Vermont Bird Records Committee

By Kent McFarland December 8, 2017
2017 VBRC members

Committee members at the 2017 meeting.(L-R) Craig Provost, Allan Strong, George Clark, Sue Wetmore, John Sutton, Spencer Hardy, Sue Elliott, Ruth Stewart, Ken Cox, Kent McFarland, and Chris Rimmer.

The Vermont Bird Records Committee held its annual meeting on 11 November 2017 at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. The 37th annual report of the VBRC covers the evaluation of 46 records involving 28 species and 3 subspecies or ‘identifiable subspecific forms’. Forty records were accepted (87%) with the majority decided unanimously. There were no first state records for any species during this period. The first fully documented subspecies record for Northern Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis abieticola) observed in Springfield, Vermont and two Eastern Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus semipalmatus) at the mouth of Charcoal Creek in Swanton, Vermont were accepted. The first breeding record of Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina) was accepted with a male well documented carrying food and then feeding a fledgling in Hinesburg, Vermont by several observers.

Thayer’s Gull (Larus thayeri) was merged into the same species as Iceland Gull (L. glaucoides) by the American Ornithological Society Committee on Classification and Nomenclature—North and Middle America, decreasing the official Vermont State Bird Checklist to 387 species, representing 22 orders and 62 families of birds, including one extinct species (Passenger Pigeon [Ectopistes migratorius]), two extirpated (Loggerhead Shrike [Lanius ludovicianus] and Henslow’s Sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii]), six hypothetical occurrences, and nine introduced species. With the addition of Hooded Warbler as breeding in 2017, there have now been 203 species found breeding in the state. The checklist can be viewed and downloaded at Species taxonomy and nomenclature follow the 7th edition of the AOS Checklist of North American Birds and supplements. Nomenclature for subspecies or ‘identifiable subspecific forms’ follows taxonomy of The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World (Version 2017).

The 2017 roster of VBRC voting members included George Clark, Ken Cox, Sue Elliott, Spencer Hardy, Kent McFarland (co-chair), Craig Provost, Chris Rimmer, Ruth Stewart, Allan Strong, John Sutton (co-chair), and Sue Wetmore.

The Vermont Bird Checklist is based on more than a century of documented observations. Reports that will expand this knowledge base are encouraged and appreciated.  Consult the checklist to see species and time periods for which the Committee requests detailed documentation. An online form for documenting rare species, out-of-season encounters, and rare nesting species can be found on the Vermont Bird Records Committee website.

For each record we present basic statistics: count of individuals, age and sex when known, location, when the bird was seen, and who submitted the report. We also indicate whether the evidence provided was a photograph, video, audio, or only a written submission. As always, the Committee strongly encourages written submissions even if other media exist. When available, a link to the record in Vermont eBird is included. All records accepted by VBRC, past and present, are stored in Vermont eBird either by the VBRC, if the observer did not enter it, or via the observer(s) directly entering the record. The VBRC strongly encourages observers to enter all bird observations, rare or common, in Vermont eBird.

You can download the full report at the VBRC web site.