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Splits and Lumps: The AOS Supplement Update!
Every summer, birders anxiously await publication of the “Check-list Supplement” by the American Ornithological Society’s Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of North and Middle American Birds (a.k.a. the NACC).
North American Birds Editor Michael Retter has put together a primer on what splits, lumps, and taxonomic revisions birders can expect on their lifelists and in the field guides based on this year’s proposals. Later in the year, be sure to check out ABA’s annual “Check-list Redux” in North American Birds magazine. There, you’ll find photos, maps, and more detailed analysis of these changes.
Highlights this year include the split of Mew Gull and a major reshuffle of passerine families. The latter will profoundly alter checklists such as the ABA’s which adhere to taxonomic sequence. There are also new genera for Spruce Grouse, most of our cormorants, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Java Sparrow, Lavender Waxbill, and (yet again!) Five-striped Sparrow.
Frank Izaguirre’s encounters with Golden-winged Warblers always seem to surprise, coming in unexpected moments or with unexpected observations. It’s a talisman bird, one whose presence is made even more delightful by the surprise. Frank asks, “What Uncommon Bird Always Surprises You?”
We hadn’t even seen the chick, recently fledged, hiding in the bush beside us, which papa golden-winged had been feeding despite our unwitting intrusion. We walked back down the path and, with considerable difficulty, spotted the tiny chick hiding among the leaves, itself so close to being just another leaf. The caterpillars in the golden-wing’s mouth made a lot more sense now.