Monday, July 14, 2014

Clay-colored Robin

Throughout my birding career, I figured, since birds do not recognize international boundaries, why should I? So, if I saw a bird in Argentina that also occurs in the United States, I checked it off on my North American list. Now, however, I use eBird to keep track of my records—and this app only allows birds seen in North America (north of Mexico) to be counted as such. Thus my rather respectable North American list of 717 birds took a heavy hit with eBird’s advent, and now stands at 578.

This Clay-colored Robin is a case in point. It inhabits forests, other woodlands, orchards, and even city parks from northern South America through Mexico. It is usually a common bird, but this thrush is a scarce resident in southern Texas. Erika and I found this individual in trees above the bird feeder at the entrance of the Santa Ana Wildlife National Wildlife Refuge in the Rio Grande Valley. Thus I recovered one of my lost North America “ticks."

Curiously the Clay-colored Thrush is not covered in the AOU’s monumental Birds of North America.  The AOU checklist assures us that the species breeds casually in southernmost Texas. This thrush is, however, coveted as a cage songbird and has also been introduced to some parts of Mexico.

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