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RE: [CALBIRDS] Black Swift question

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  • Kimball Garrett
    Thomas, There are only two other large swifts in California (Black and White-collared), both of which routinely fan their tails. As you know,
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 8, 2006
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      Thomas,

      There are only two other "large swifts" in California (Black and White-collared), both of which routinely fan their tails. As you know, White-throateds usually carry the tail fairly tightly closed (so it appears as a double point), but when maneuvering they frequently fan the tail. In White-throated the tail is fairly deeply forked, so the fanned tail looks more or less squared. We won't worry about White-collared (which is shaped, more or less, like an outsized Black Swift).

      So identifying a "large" swift solely on the basis of tail fanning is dangerous. I would assume that a candidate Black Swift would be obvious based on the languid flight, very infrequent flapping, angle of the wings at the wrist joint, etc. In any case "way the heck off in the distance" is always an uncomfortable thing to read in any description.

      Kimball

      Kimball L. Garrett
      Ornithology Collections Manager
      Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
      900 Exposition Blvd.
      Los Angeles CA 90007
      (213) 763-3368
      (213) 746-2999 FAX
      kgarrett@...

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      > Of Thomas Miko
      > Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 3:18 PM
      > To: calbirds@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [CALBIRDS] Black Swift question
      >
      > Hi Birders,
      > In your experience, is Black Swift the only large swift in California
      > (excluding the 2 small Chaeturae) that fans its tail?
      > In other words, have you ever seen White-throated Swifts exhibiting this
      > behavior?
      > I recently observed a pair of Black Swifts that were flying very close (it
      > was a dark, gloomy day) overhead, and watched this behavior, and got to
      > see other field marks positively identifying them as Blacks, and not
      > White-throated Swifts. Today I had a pair of swifts (not a flock) way the
      > heck off in the distance, and one of the birds was doing the Black Swift
      > tail-flaring thing, so I said "Oooh, Black Swifts!", but I would like to
      > know more i.e. for sure about this beahvior i.e. if White-throated Swifts
      > flat-out do not flair their tails.
      >
      > Tom
      > Thomas Miko (Mikó Tamás)
    • Thomas Miko
      Thanks Kimball. White-collared in California? When did THAT happen? Yes, that s exactly why I asked: If you can cheat and identify based on something, hey
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 8, 2006
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        Thanks Kimball.
        White-collared in California?
        When did THAT happen?
        Yes, that's exactly why I asked: If you can cheat and identify based on something, hey that's great, but if the idea i.e. field mark is false, I want to know that it's false, and dump it.
        So, the misleading thing then is that Sibley (any others?) ONLY mention Black Swift as doing this. I wish they had illustration of both Black Swift and White-throated with their tails fanned.
        Yes, the other time when I said "Black Swift" the birds were close overhead and cooperative, as I mentioned in my post. I did not at all merely rely on tail-fanning.
        I need to look at that book on swifts.
        Tom


        >From: Kimball Garrett <kgarrett@...>
        >Date: Thu Jun 08 17:40:20 CDT 2006
        >To: Thomas Miko <thomas.miko@...>, calbirds@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: RE: [CALBIRDS] Black Swift question

        >Thomas,
        >
        >There are only two other "large swifts" in California (Black and White-collared), both of which routinely fan their tails. As you know, White-throateds usually carry the tail fairly tightly closed (so it appears as a double point), but when maneuvering they frequently fan the tail. In White-throated the tail is fairly deeply forked, so the fanned tail looks more or less squared. We won't worry about White-collared (which is shaped, more or less, like an outsized Black Swift).
        >
        >So identifying a "large" swift solely on the basis of tail fanning is dangerous. I would assume that a candidate Black Swift would be obvious based on the languid flight, very infrequent flapping, angle of the wings at the wrist joint, etc. In any case "way the heck off in the distance" is always an uncomfortable thing to read in any description.
        >
        >Kimball
        >
        >Kimball L. Garrett
        >Ornithology Collections Manager
        >Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
        >900 Exposition Blvd.
        >Los Angeles CA 90007
        >(213) 763-3368
        >(213) 746-2999 FAX
        >kgarrett@...
        >
        >> -----Original Message-----
        >> From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        >> Of Thomas Miko
        >> Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 3:18 PM
        >> To: calbirds@yahoogroups.com
        >> Subject: [CALBIRDS] Black Swift question
        >>
        >> Hi Birders,
        >> In your experience, is Black Swift the only large swift in California
        >> (excluding the 2 small Chaeturae) that fans its tail?
        >> In other words, have you ever seen White-throated Swifts exhibiting this
        >> behavior?
        >> I recently observed a pair of Black Swifts that were flying very close (it
        >> was a dark, gloomy day) overhead, and watched this behavior, and got to
        >> see other field marks positively identifying them as Blacks, and not
        >> White-throated Swifts. Today I had a pair of swifts (not a flock) way the
        >> heck off in the distance, and one of the birds was doing the Black Swift
        >> tail-flaring thing, so I said "Oooh, Black Swifts!", but I would like to
        >> know more i.e. for sure about this beahvior i.e. if White-throated Swifts
        >> flat-out do not flair their tails.
        >>
        >> Tom
        >> Thomas Miko (Mikó Tamás)
        >
        >
        >
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        Thomas Miko (Mikó Tamás)

        thomas.miko@...
        thomas_miko@...

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      • Joseph Devine
        I m relatively new to birding (3 yrs) & just started w/ the photography thing about a year ago. I do, however, have a suitable photo of a White-throated Swift
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 9, 2006
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          I'm relatively new to birding (3 yrs) & just started w/ the photography thing about a year ago. I do, however, have a suitable photo of a White-throated Swift w/ a full tail fan, taken over Coyote Hills in Fremont, Ca. Hope it gives you the view you desire of this behavior. BTW - the WT did this when he was "braking" quickly while continuing to fly in a relatively straight line.

          http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/mojoedevine/Passerines/Swallow-like%20Birds/WTSwift5.jpg

          Joe Devine
          Modesto, Ca

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        • debbie viess
          It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Dr. Howard Cogswell. He was a rigorous scientist, and a fine human being. He will be sorely missed.
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 10, 2006
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            It is with great sadness that I announce the
            death of Dr. Howard Cogswell. He was a rigorous
            scientist, and a fine human being.

            He will be sorely missed.

            Debbie Viess
            Oakland, CA
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