Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Hi everyone,

Well it looks like the Spotted Owl pulled out a tight victory, barely beating Horned Puffin and the "most wanted BC bird."

I have made a new poll which I suppose it geared a little more to the "twitchers" in the crowd. Nonetheless, I expect some thoughtful guesses (although I know some of you will just pick the one with the coolest name!). So what is this about? I have assembled a list of some likely candidates for BC's next "first record." It's up to you to guess which one will arrive here first!

Have fun,



  1. If I can be greedy and make two guesses, I'd say Glossy Ibis or Brown Shrike--I'm surprised neither has been recorded yet.
    What is the status of the province's reports of cardinal and Fork-tailed Flycatcher?
    Enjoying the blog immensely,

  2. I am not sure, I hadn't heard of any confirmed reports of those species but it is certainly possible I missed something (BC's a little disorganized in this regard). The only FTFL reports I have heard of sounded like misidentified magpies! BTW, I'd be glad to find out about any good reports of any of these species.

    Hoping to find a couple of these this year!


  3. There is a sight record of a Northern Cardinal from near Prince George, BC. The bird, an adult male, was seen in the yard of relatives of a well-known PG birder. No documentation exists to confirm the sighting, but an adult male Northern Cardinal is hard to mis-ID. The recent sightings from Alberta combined with the low likelihood of an escapee in that part of the province help to corroborate the probability of it being a legit sighting. You can drive by the location of this sighting and find a Northern Cardinal model in place to commemorate its real predecessor.

    Nathan H.

  4. I think my answers would be different depending on whether or not the question is "Which species do you think is most likely to occur in BC?", or "Which species do you think is most likely to occur, be observed, and then be correctly identified in BC?" Going on the assumption of the latter question, and the population difference between backyard feeder watchers and competent birders I think something like cardinal has a higher likelihood of being detected first, but I am a bit surprised that Tricolored Blackbird hasn't turned up in the Okanagan yet!


  5. Thank you for the comments Nathan and glad to hear about that cardinal sighting in PG! You make a good point regarding what "occurs" and what "is actually detected." For instance, I would bet that 1 or 2 Streaked Shearwaters visit Canadian waters every year but good luck seeing one yourself!

    As for the blackbirds, there is a secret colony near Oliver, BC that locals have been keeping on the down-low since its discovery in 2004.


  6. You had me going there for a while!
    Here's what caused me to ask about earlier records of F-t Fly:
    p 19 n 97.

  7. Thanks Rick, I couldn't get that link to work but I assume that is Jamie F's annotated list of the rare birds of BC. It's certainly great that he's put that together but readers should be warned that too avoid bias, he has included many unconfirmed records. Some of them are probably legit, but others (like the 2001 record for Fork-tailed Flycatcher from Penticton) will never be accepted. In that particular case, 2 birders from New Brunswick reported that they had seen the bird on a wire as they blew by down the highway. They didn't stop of course and didn't bother to mention it until they returned home several weeks later. The casual nature of the report combined with the severe lack of documentation--- well you can imagine what we locals think about it.

    As for the other undocumented record from Tofino, I have no clue what the story is... could be a good one.

    It sounds like BC will soon get some sort of a Rare Bird Committee again so some of these things can be set in stone (more or less). Regarding that cardinal--- although I'm sure that's what it was, one can never be too careful in accepting rare bird reports based on how apparently "obvious" something can look to the experienced birder. I have seen all sorts of crazy things from reported flycatchers becoming baby turkeys to reported White Storks turning into Caspian Terns!

    A long-winded reply but always an interesting subject!