[Tweeters] What was the cool bird I just saw; Was it rare? (yes, actually!!!)

Ed Newbold ednewbold1 at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 24 11:54:30 PDT 2013

Hi all,
We've all had the experience many times.  Someone who is not a birder or who is just getting into birding sees a really neat bird.  You then work together on getting an ID, after which the person naturally wants to gauge the value of the sighting.  The question might be, "Is that rare?"
It's always hard to tell someone that a gorgeous bird like a Western Tanager or Yellow-rumped Warbler, where and when they had it, is--to a certain jaded mindset--nothing special at all as a sighting while still trying to preserve completely the notion that it is a gorgeous, wonderful bird that we should ALWAYS be excited about.
But for once I was able to answer this age-old question differently.
My friend is a very good nature observer but is more recently learning the birds.  Recently I helped him link Red-breasted Nuthatch to a sound he was hearing "constantly" in the woods.   Yesterday he asked about a bird couple that, in defending their nest, dove on him and made many vocalizations, which he mimicked, and he was especially impressed by the fact that the birds fluttered its wings as part of the aerial bombardment. 
I don't know why I'm even posting this story on tweeters as here the story is nothing but an expose of my total ignorance, as this huge fluttering-wing clue didn't ring any bells for me.
I tried to get him to consider Merlin or Sharpy, telling him how small they were, and in exasperation thought of Olive-sided Flycatcher.  This was Fidalgo Island.  Then I finally heard that he was telling me the bird had a smooth light yellow front.
Western Kingbirds nesting on Fidalgo. "That's a pretty good sighting!" 
Ed Newbold

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