[Tweeters] How are Tropical Kingbirds being identified

Josh Adams xjoshx at gmail.com
Thu Nov 12 19:31:52 PST 2015

Hello Tweets,
Bruce's question made me curious to the status of Couch's Kingbird in this
part of the world. I knew every vagrant in Washington that was ever
identified to species was a Tropical Kingbird, but surely a Couch's must
have showed up somewhere around here. I was actually surprised to find no
records in any of the adjacent areas (OR, ID, or BC).

Out of curiosity I checked out Calfornia, which might as well be the land
of the vagrants. Arctic Loons are basically annual there. Heck, they even
have a resident Northern Gannet these days. How many Couch's Kingbird
records have been found within California's huge borders? One. A bit more
digging revealed only four records west of the continental divide that I
could find (two are this year, and may not have been voted on by the
applicable BRC), and none closer than southern Nevada. Interestingly all
records are during the heart of winter rather than the pattern of fall
occurrence that Tropical Kingbird has shown.

So while it appears that Couch's Kingbird is, of course, possible, it is
_highly_ unlikely to occur. For those reasons, I personally wouldn't stress
out too much about calling a silent fall Kingbird as a Tropical.

PS: All this research made me very grateful for excellent resources Matt
Bartel's and the WBRC have made easily available online. Many states have
meager, if any, resources of this nature.

Josh Adams
Lynnwood, WA
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