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3283Re: Cozumel Thrasher and North American Birds

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  • Gavin G. Shire
    Jul 12, 2004
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      Thank you for your email, Luke.

      While you are correct that I, for one, do not receive a copy of North American Birds, and would be only too happy to receive a complimentary subscription, you are incorrect in assuming that staff at ABC were unaware of the past Thrasher sightings. ABC co-funded the expedition, in part, because of these past, unconfirmed sihgtings. The press release clearly states that the bird has not been "seen or recorded by scientists for close to a decade." The distinction is an important one. ABC recently reported in our newsletter Bird Calls (www.abcbirds.org/policy/birdcalls.htm) an unconfirmed sighting of an Eskimo Curlew on Martha's Vineyard but would not consider this as proof that the species is not, as many believe, extinct. Neither would we consider the reported sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana three years ago as proof that this species continues to survive.

      The Cozumel Thrasher sighting was significant because it was the first sighting by a scientist. We felt this merrited a press release to let the world share in this exciting news (with perhaps the added benefit of helping secure future funding or maybe even potential protected area status if more individuals are found).

      I hope this clears up any misunderstanding about the discovery and the subsequent press release. I look forward to receiving North American Birds and would be happy to send the editors any future news releases for that publication.

      For more information on ABC please visit www.abcbirds.org


      Sincerely,

      Gavin G. Shire
      Director, Communications Technology
      American Bird Conservancy
      Tel: (202) 452-1535
      Fax: (202) 452-1534
      Email: gshire@...
      Web: www.abcbirds.org

      CONSERVING WILD BIRDS AND THEIR HABITATS THROUGHOUT THE AMERICAS


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Luke Cole
      To: Calbirds
      Cc: gshire@...
      Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 10:55 AM
      Subject: Cozumel Thrasher and North American Birds


      Thomas Miko's post of the Cozumel Thrasher news brings needed attention to a species in serious trouble, but the Cozumel Thrasher has been seen several times in the past 10 years as careful readers of the ABA journal North American Birds know. The news article stated:

      "The discovery of the Cozumel Thrasher was announced jointly by the American Bird Conservancy and Conservation International, both based in Washington, D.C. Gavin Shire of the American Bird Conservancy called it "a remarkable
      rediscovery" considering the bird hadn't been seen for 10 years."


      Apparently the American Bird Conservancy staff are not readers of North American Birds, which reported back in 2002 that there was an unconfirmed record 18 Nov 2001 at the San Gervacio ruins near El Pozo (Héctor Gómez de Silva); and a confirmed record in Dec 1998 by John Coons and party. See NAB 56/1: 114.

      North American Birds reported earlier this year (before the ABC announcement) of the refinding of the Thrasher last fall. From Page 154 of the Yucatan Peninsula subregional report, Mexico regional report, North American Birds Vol 58, No 1 (Corn Crake at Guadeloupe on the cover):

      A Cozumel Thrasher was reported near the Cozumel Golf Course 12 Sep (2003) at 5:30 in the evening (RC); this would amount to the rediscovery of a species thought extinct since 1999, so confirmation and immediate attention by conservationists are highly recommended.

      These mentions were pointed out to me by North American Birds editor Ned Brinkley, who has promised to add the American Bird Conservancy to the list of complimentary subscriptions to the magazine, so that it can keep abreast of such avian news, too.

      OK, what's the California angle? Well, North American Birds only exists because observers like you send your important sightings to subregional editors. Those hard-working volunteer editors then compile all the data into their county notebooks, and forward the information to the regional editors (also volunteer) who compose quarterly columns which are published in NAB. For those of you who don't yet subscribe to NAB, it is an important tool for enhancing your knowledge of the region's avifauna -- you should subscribe! (You'd know long before CNN about the Cozumel Thrasher...) For those of you who dont yet submit your important records to subregional editors, you have chances about every three months (quarterly) to mend your ways. Suport NAB so that it can continue to keep you on the cutting edge of birding.

      Good birding!

      Luke

      Luke Cole
      San Francisco
      (full disclosure: I'm one of four Regional Editors of North American Birds for the Middle Pacific Region (aka Northern California))

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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