Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ironies abound

Wow--it's already August first! This is (at least so far) the first year since 1985, when I had two toddlers and was pregnant or with a newborn, when I haven't added a single lifer--ironic when it's the first year I've worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, huh? But that's because I've been adjusting to a whole new routine and getting used to living in a splendid new area--at least I've added lots of new New York birds!

But last night I learned that not only wasn't I adding a lifer this year--I was actually LOSING one! The new AOU supplement, which the ever-wonderful Rick Wright summarized on his blog, has lumped Common Black-Hawk and Mangrove Black-Hawk. They jettisoned the hyphen on what was known as the Green Violet-ear. I sort of liked that one, since when you put it into one word, it sounds like a purple tear to me (Violetear). But sadly, they still seem to be keeping those gawdawful hyphens in names like Black-Hawk and Sage-Grouse. This seems to me unfortunate because you then can't find them in normal indexes under hawk or grouse. Oh, well. Serving on that committee has to be the most thankless job on the planet.

But I'm going to have to do something QUICK if I'm going to not end up with a net loss in my birds this year. I'm hoping to get to go to the ever-fabulous Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November. It has to be one of the most fun and rewarding festivals ANYWHERE. I was an invited speaker several years ago, but although my talk was well-received, it was extremely poorly-attended, so I haven't merited another invite. Oh, well. It's still a grand festival! And if I'm lucky some cool bird will show up that I still need.