[Tweeters] avifaunal changes in recent decades

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Mon Apr 3 12:56:58 PDT 2006

In response to Michael Scuderi's post, I'd like to say that there
were plenty of Lesser Goldfinches and Western Scrub-Jays in
Washington 38 years ago, when I came. the jays have enlarged their
range greatly, but they were in the state then. I don't think the
goldfinches have enlarged their range substantially.

The Great Egret, White-faced Ibis, and Black-necked Stilt all
probably moved into the state because drought conditions to the south
prevented them from breeding. The egret and stilt have stayed and
thrived. It's too bad Kahlotus Lake dried up, or we might have
breeding White-faced Ibis now.

Also, Matt, I might question putting Least Flycatcher, Swamp Sparrow,
and White-throated Sparrow on this list, as I suspect the increased
records can be attributed entirely to much increased observer
coverage and, perhaps even more so, knowledge of where to look for
these birds. The first Least Flycatcher was found breeding in the
state in the 50s. There are many, many more sightings nowadays, but
there are many, many more observers too. ;-) When I started birding
in Washington, my recollection is that there were no more than a
dozen or two birders in the state who would have been motivated to go
out and beat the bushes for a Swamp Sparrow.

The people in BC think that Gray Flycatchers really have expanded
their range into BC in the last, say, 3 decades, and this species is
known from many more parts of the state than it was when I came here,
when it had just been discovered at Wenas Creek.

American White Pelicans have increased dramatically in recent years.
They bred in the state long ago, then stopped doing so, now do so
again. And of course Brown Pelicans were quite rare in the state in
the 60s when I got here and have increased dramatically since then.
Heermann's Gulls were common then but have increased tremendously.
Elegant Terns might be mentioned for their pulse of occurrence in the
80s, but alas, they waned as well as waxed.
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115

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