[Tweeters] White-cheeked Starling

pat.mary.taylor pat.mary.taylor at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 14:13:27 PDT 2016


A White-cheeked Starling has been present in Tofino for the past three days on the golf course. The origin is of course debatable and could be an escape or ship-assisted. The ABA considers the latter to be "wild" and countable. Strange rule when other rules state that those assisted by man are not.

A previous record of White-cheeked Starling was previously reported in Homer, Alaska but rejected based on unknown provenance. Identification is not a question, but provenance obviously is.

There are specific rules in place to view this bird. Birders are welcome early in the morning before the golfers arrive but must be out by 8:30am which gives you about 2 hours. The starling is found on the second fairway at the Long Beach Golf Course. It is seen mostly when it lands on the fairway to feed. Be sure to park where you do not block the gate. Stay off the green entirely and the fairways as much as possible and stay in the centre among the trees. The best method appears to be to simply hang out in one place and wait. The golf course management is generously giving birders an opportunity to see the bird, so I want to stress how important it is to adhere to the rules. One violation could ruin it for everyone. There is a spot on Grice Bay Rd, about 15 m before the road closure barricades that, with a scramble, provides a view of the section of the Long Beach Golf Course where the bird was seen. that spot is marked with 5 parallel sticks on the road edge.

Evenings may be a possibility but only with a guide and Wednesday and Thursday evenings are exempt. The staff has stated that if the greens are vacant you are allowed on after asking permission at the office.

The location for the Long Beach Golf Course is 1850 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino.

Letter from ABA committee member:
In the 1998 Homer Alaska case, the bird was not accepted by the AK Committee, and was never considered by the ABA Checklist Committee. The ABA CLC usually (but not always) waits until the local records committees vote before it considers a species for the ABA Checklist.

So, to answer the question: a ship assisted bird is absolutely considered to be “wild”, and I have no idea what the ABA CLC will do with this record. The only question would be whether or not it is an escaped cage bird. That’s particularly difficult to prove, because Tofino (or Alaska) is pretty much where you would expect this species to show up in the ABA Area, and White-cheeked Starling is one of the species that Pranty and Floyd predicted would be recorded in the ABA area in the coming years. <http://aba.org/birdersguide/Pranty-ABA-Checklist-Committee-WebExtra.pdf> Also, it is commonly seen on ships well off the coast of Japan, heading east.

Keith Taylor
Victoria BC

Sent from my iPad
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