1995 Annual Meeting
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Texas Bird Records Committee members
FROM: Greg Lasley, Secretary, TBRC
DATE: November 17, 1995
SUBJECT: Minutes of 1995 Annual Meeting, September 16, 1995
The 1995 annual meeting of the Texas Bird Records Committee was convened at the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, on Saturday, September 16, 1995. In attendance were:
- John Arvin, Chair
- Greg Lasley, Secretary
- Keith Arnold, Academician
- Carl Haynie
- Martin Reid
- Chuck Sexton
- Willie Sekula
- Mark Lockwood
- Brad McKinney
- Leon Little
TBRC members absent from the meeting were Gail D. L. Yovanovich, David Wolf (term expiring), and Barry Zimmer (term expiring). The meeting was convened at approximately 9:00 a.m.
Lasley reviewed the status of circulating rounds; summary will be mailed out in a few weeks. The minutes of the 1994 TBRC annual meeting were reviewed and approved.
Election/Status of Members
David Wolf had indicated to the Secretary before the meeting that he would decline to be re-elected to a second term. Since Barry Zimmer's 2nd term expires in the Fall of 1995, this left two vacancies to be filled at the meeting. Mark Lockwood (Austin) and Willie Sekula (Falls City) were nominated to fill the two vacancies. Arvin, Lasley, and Arnold were renominated for the positions of Chair, Secretary, and Academician, respectively. There being no further nominations, all nominees were elected by acclamation.
Current membership and terms of service are as follows:
- John Arvin, Chair - Term expires Fall 1996; can be re-elected
- Greg Lasley, Secretary - Term expires Fall 1996; can be re-elected
- Keith Arnold, Academician - Term expires Fall 1996; can be re-elected
- Carl Haynie - 2nd term expires Fall 1997
- Mark Lockwood - 1st term expires Fall 1998; can be re-elected
- Martin Reid - 1st term expires Fall 1997; can be re-elected
- Willie Sekula - 1st term expires Fall 1998; can be re-elected
- Chuck Sexton - 2nd term expires Fall 1996
- Gail Diane Yovanovich - 1st term expires Fall 1996; can be re-elected
Regular Agenda Items:
Arvin discussed his findings regarding identification of immature/female Mango sp. hummingbirds of Central America and northern South America. Arvin has now visited 3 of the 4 major North American collections with numbers of Mango specimens (LSU, Smithsonian, and Field Museum of Chicago; American Museum of Natural History specimens have not been examined). He examined all specimens of the 3 mainland Mango species which are possibly confused:
- GBMA - Green-breasted Mango (Anthracothorax prevostii)
- GTMA - Green-throated Mango (A. viridigula)
- BTMA - Black-throated Mango (A. nigricollis)
A brief summary of distinctive aspects follows:
GTMA is a scarce hummer of n.e. S. Am. It is rare in collections. Fem/imms are easy to separate because the dark stripe on the center of the underparts is short, extending barely past the throat.
BTMA occurs in humid tropical lowlands. Fems/imms are very similar to GBMA except that the central dark stripe NEVER shows any blue or green iridescence; it is flat black.
GBMA is highly migratory at least in the northern part of its range. GBMA fem/imms have varying amounts of color in the central dark stripe but: No GBMA failed to show at least a little blue or green color (at least a few metallic feathers) in the stripe. Thus, IF a mango is a fem/imm and IF any blue/green iridescence is seen in the dark belly stripe, it is a confirmed Green-breasted Mango. If no color is seen, it may be accepted at least as a mango sp. Based on geographic probability, and the fact that the northern pops of GBMA are migratory and no other pops of any of the other spp. are, it is a virtual certainty that any mango sp. in Texas is a GBMA (barring escaped captive). TBRC members may continue to make their own decisions on how conservative they may choose to view records in which no color in the central stripe is seen.
Arvin could find no other plumage differences that would be useful at distinguishing fem/imm GBMA and BTMA. Apparently the amount of rufous/rusty on the sides of the neck does NOT help; it is quite variable within and between these two species.
Based on this new information, the Committee re-examined the existing mango records for consistency of interpretation:
- Record 1988-272 (Brownsville, September 1988; previously accepted as Mango sp. only) could not be demonstrated to have shown any blue or green in the center stripe. Nonetheless, on a motion by Sexton (second: Reid), the Committee accepted the record as a Green-breasted Mango on a vote of 7-1 (Arnold voting "No").
- Record 1994-30 (Falfurrias, September 1993; just completed circulation and accepted as Mango sp. It was known to have had green visible in central stripe on one of the VHS tapes. On a motion by Sexton (second: Reid), the Committee unanimously (8-0) accepted the record as a Green-breasted Mango.
* Based on the above described identification and distribution information, the committee strongly feels that the possibility of any mango sp. occurring in Texas other than GBMA is virtually nil. Still, it will be up to the individual committee member to vote his/her best judgement in evaluating any individual record.
The Committee thanked Arvin for his rigorous examination of this question.
Red-crowned Parrot and Green Parakeet
Lasley introduced the topic by indicating that although the ABA has accepted the Red- crowned Parrot (RCPA) as "Introduced" in Texas, Florida, and California, his motion (In 1989) to the ABA Checklist Committee to put the Green Parakeet (GRPA) on the ABA list was rejected. Moreover, Jon Dunn has recently moved to remove RCPA from the ABA list.
Brad McKinney (Brownsville) was invited to present a summary of his results from 1995 on nesting of both RCPA and GRPA in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. McKinney presented two draft papers to the Committee. Ten active nests of RCPA were found in just a 3 week period in late July in Brownsville. McKinney suggests that as many as 50-60 nesting pairs may be found in the Lower Rio Grand Valley. McKinney stated that others feel the total number of nesting pairs of RCPA in the LRGV exceeds 100, but he felt the 50-60 nesting pairs was the more prudent and conservative estimate at this time. Nest site availability is critical. Most nests were in dead Washingtonia palms (dating from the last major freeze in the LRGV in the mid-1980s); one nest was in a sabal palm, another was in a cottonwood. Arvin added that in probably almost all cases, these nest sites are the enlarged cavities first excavated by Golden-fronted Woodpeckers.
McKinney's research on GRPA found 28 nests in 3 weeks in Brownsville, with an estimated 50 nests in Brownsville alone.
Based on this information and all other information compiled on these species (e.g. see accounts in new 3rd ed. of TOS Checklist), Lasley moved (second: Haynie) to accept RCPA and GRPA on the official Texas State List with their status as:
- "Origin uncertain. Long-term stable to increasing populations in several metropolitan areas of the LRGV."
The motion passed unanimously. The Committee expressed its gratitude to McKinney for his hard work and encouraged him to prepare final manuscripts for publication as soon as possible.
TBRC On The Internet/World Wide Web
Haynie gave an overview of what the WWW is and how the TBRC might benefit by having a presence on the Web. Haynie demonstrated a draft "Home Page" he had been working on. Everyone was impressed. The URL for the TBRC home page is at present:
Reid moved (second: Sexton) to appoint Haynie to the newly created position of TBRC Internet Manager. The motion passed unanimously (8-0). Haynie was given permission to begin advertising the TBRC Home Page with the instruction that any graphics or other scanned images will be included only by permission from the originating author, artist, photographer, etc. An explicit acknowledgment of the source with copyright notice should also be included on any Internet Web page or document.
Green-backed Selasphorus Hummingbirds
A discussion of the evidence (or lack thereof) of fully adult green-backed Rufous Hummingbirds concluded with a motion by Reid (second: Haynie) to the effect that:
"Unless and until it is shown that a fully gorgeted, green-backed adult male Rufous Hummingbird actually exists, the Committee may accept a report of such a bird as an Allen's, with an annotation in the Master List."
The motion passed 7-1 with Arnold voting "No".
Review of Recognizable Subspecies
Reid posed the question: "Is there a need to create a Subspecies Review List?" TBRC members currently have discretion to ask for TBRC review of any specific record. To aid the birding community in determining what subspecies might be of special ornithological interest, a subspecies review list might include subspecies which:
- Are recognizable in the field or in a photo or on tape, AND
- Might have formerly been full species, and/or which may be elevated to full species at some future date, AND
- The Committee senses from initial indications would meet the current Review List membership criteria (i.e., < 4 records/year).
On a motion by Reid (second: Sexton), the TBRC decided to create a list of "recognizable subspecies" which may be submitted for review. The motion passed 7-1 with Arnold opposed. By separate motion, the Committee added the following subspecies or subspecies groups to this list: Common Teal, Mangrove Warbler, and White-winged Junco.
Sexton presented the brand new 3rd edition of the TOS Checklist of the Birds of Texas which had been picked up from the printer in Austin just days earlier. [All copies were delivered to the TCWC in College Station at the annual meeting with the exception of limited supplies retained by Lasley, Sexton, and others for distribution and sale.] Sexton indicated the known errors which slipped through the layers of editing and encouraged all Committee members to bring further corrections to his attention.
Distribution and Price. A set of recipients of complimentary copies of the checklist was suggested. This will include copies to each TBRC member and each reviewer of the manuscript as well as editorial copies to various entities such as OSNA and ABA. Price for regular copies was set at $5.50 plus tax for TOS members (~ $6) and $7.50 plus tax (~ $8) for non-members. Wholesale copies would be sold for $5 to retail outlets or non-profit organizations for resale (e.g., The Chickadee, ABA, etc.).
Treatment of Newly Located Specimen Records
Lasley asked about the voting disposition of certain specimen records. In the form of a motion (second: Haynie), Lasley asked to treat these as follows: For any species not accepted on the Official Texas List, the TBRC will review and accept the first occurrence (e.g., specimen), but thereafter, subsequently located specimens taken prior to 1988 (which is the date the original TBRC Bylaws were accepted) will be voted on by the Committee only at the annual meeting (rather than circulating such records in a round of records). Any specimen record taken in 1988 or later will continue to be reviewed in the regular manner. The motion passed unanimously.
Haynie advised Committee members to review the revised categories for non-acceptance which were set at the 1993 meeting and to update our record voting forms accordingly. To recap, these are:
- Specific identification not established.
- Natural occurrence questionable.
- Establishment of introduced population questionable.
All committee members with TBRC voting forms on home computers should correct the non-acceptance categories to reflect the above.
Review of Records Without Knowing Observers Names
Reid initiated a discussion of the potential (and observed) inconsistency in review of records due to the reviewers' (i.e., TBRC members') knowledge of the observer(s) submitting details on a given sight record. It was acknowledged to be a difficult problem. A suggestion by Reid in the form of a motion (which failed without a second) was made to circulate records on the first round without observer names (or conscious ignoring our knowledge of the observer(s)) but adding notes in our votes as explanation. The impracticality of this method of operation seemed to suggest it is was not a viable way of voting.
The Committee discussed deleting the Pacific Loon, Glossy Ibis, and Lesser Black-backed Gull from the Review List, possibly by invoking the Special Rule for Removal passed last year. Each species was discussed in detail separately.
A motion to invoke the Special Rule on the Pacific Loon was made by Arnold and seconded by Sexton. Arnold cited data in the Master List and circulating records to support removal from the Review List. Based mainly on the lack of consistency from one winter to the next in the abundance of the species, the motion failed on a 3-5 vote.
Arnold also invoked the Special Rule for the Glossy Ibis (motion seconded by Sexton), citing records in the Master List and circulating records. The motion passed unanimously.
A detailed discussion on the LBBG failed to generate a similar motion under the Special Rule. The general consensus was that, although records of LBBG are clearly increasing and the species will soon meet/exceed the standard for being on the Review List, removing the species prematurely may result in the loss of information on similar species (e.g., any other dark-backed gulls on the Texas State List or potential confusing species not yet recorded in Texas) if observers were to relax their focus on such dark-backed gulls.
Arvin noted that there is no explicit acknowledgment in the TOS Checklist or in the TBRC By-laws of the taxonomic authority to be followed by TOS and its committees. To rectify this, Arvin made a motion (second: Reid) that "The TBRC and the official Texas State List shall follow the taxonomy [of North American birds] as published by the American Ornithologists' Union in its Check-list of North American Birds and its periodic supplements." The motion passed unanimously.
Fourth Round Records
There were no post-third round records which required Committee action.
There being no other formal business on the agenda, the meeting was adjourned at about 5 p.m. Some members took advantage of the opportunity to examine data and specimens in the TCWC.
Greg W. Lasley, Secretary Texas Bird Records Committee