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San Diego County’s most MISidentified birds–Spring 2023 edition

San Diego County’s most MISidentified birds–Spring 2023 edition

By {authorlink} – 12:42 pm

The Spring 2023 installment of “San Diego County’s Most Misidentified Birds” are headed by two of the perennial favorites: Ring-billed Gull and Rufous Hunmingbird.
Ring-billed Gull is the clear winner in terms of sheer volume of misidentifications. Along the immediate coast here and throughout much of California, this species occurs in numbers only locally–mostly at estuaries, coastal parks, and favored dumpsters. Around San Diego and elsewhere they are decidedly scarce along rocky coasts, such as at La Jolla and Point Loma, with a “good” count in a winter’s day being just 3 or 4 birds. Reports of larger numbers and/or which exceed the number of the abundant California Gull here are likely in error. Also, very, very, very few Ring-billeds remain past mid-April and are then far outnumbered through the summer by young California Gulls, by a factor of 100:1. Reports of anything more than 2-3 Ring-billeds at places like the J Street mudflats by now are likely erroneous, whereas there are 200+ young Californias currently there, many of which will stay the summer.
Rufous Hummingbird may well be the winner of “the most misidentified as a percent of the total reports” prize. The problem here is folks reporting females as “Rufous,” seeing males incompletely at an angle and thinking they can see the entire back and report no green present, or some beginners who don’t even know the species Allen’s Hummingbird exists. The problem has gotten worse in the past decade as the population of Allen’s has exploded and the numbers of true Rufous seem to have declined.
–Paul Lehman, San Diego