The Changes Are In

It’s July, and that means it’s time for the annual update to the American Ornithologists’ Union Checklist. Besides the high-profile splits of Winter Wren, Whip-poor-will, and Black Scoter, the checklist committee also did some major rearranging of scientific names, splitting a number of genera and reassigning several species to a new genus. We’ll take a quick survey of what’s changed and how audio was involved. [Read more]

AOU Checklist News!

The North American Checklist Committee of the American Ornithologists’ Union has published the results of its deliberations on the first round of proposed changes from 2009, and it has updated the slate of proposals currently under consideration. Here’s a quick summary of the changes that affect species splits north of Mexico. [Read more]

Pacific Wren’s a Done Deal

The grapevine tells me that the AOU checklist committee has voted to split Pacific Wren from Winter Wren. [Read more]

Pacific Wren, Part Two

It was a wet and foggy day in April. I was standing in a damp little nook in dense woods, long before the first leaves would even think about opening, weeks before most migrating birds would get within a thousand miles of southeast South Dakota, listening to a cascade of musical notes that seemed like it would never end. It was echoing off the trees and the mossy banks, coming from somewhere tantalizingly close — but from exactly where, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out. [Read more]

Pacific Wren, Part One

The American Ornithologists’ Union Checklist Committee recently updated its slate of taxonomic proposals. Lots of exciting stuff here, including proposed species status for our old friend, the South Hills Crossbill, and a split of Western Scrub-Jay. The proposed split I want to focus on today, though, is one that’s long in coming, and quite likely to pass, in my opinion: the split of Winter Wren. [Read more]