By Glenda Slessor
The Hamilton Area Bird Checklist 2007 was prepared by Rob Dobos and Glenda Slessor, based on the work of Bob Curry in his book Birds of Hamilton and Surrounding Areas (2006).
Bird checklists need to be updated occasionally. The nicest reason perhaps is that new birds have appeared in the region, and should be officially recognized. The Manx Shearwater is the best example recently. (See Barry Cherriere’s account of that exciting discovery in April 2007 Wood Duck) We must also acknowledge five other birds that have visited the HSA since 2000, when the last checklist was published: Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, White-winged Dove, Gray Flycatcher, Cave Swallow and Smith’s Longspur.
Checklists must also be updated for historical reasons. In the case of our Hamilton list, two birds have been added and two deleted. The additions, based on historical and archeological records, are the Sharp-tailed Grouse and the Whooping Crane. Check Birds of Hamilton for the data and stories about these early visitors to our area. Also, two birds have been deleted from the official Hamilton list: Black-billed Magpie and MacGillivray’s Warbler. Again, you can check their stories in Birds of Hamilton.
Finally, the AOU continues to study the families of birds, their DNA, their “checklist order”. At this time, there has been a significant re-ordering of bird families so you will find the order of birds considerably changed in this new list. You may even find the names of some birds changed again. The AOU does that occasionally!
The new checklist is an attractive publication. Peter Burke’s lovely drawing of Parasitic Jaegers with the Hamilton Wave Tower and the Toronto skyline in the background captures our place here at the end of Lake Ontario, here at the Jaeger watching capital of the province.
The checklists will be available at the September meeting of the HNC, one copy free for each member that night. Later, they will be sold for $2 a copy, $5 for 3. We think they are field ready!