This update reports the 2017 membership of the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC), recent changes to the IORC Review List, and IORC’s decision regarding Illinois’s one record of Green Violetear in light of the taxonomic split of that species into Mexican Violetear and Lesser Violetear.
For 2017, IORC welcomes Walter Marcisz as a newly elected member serving a three year term from 2017 to 2019. Walter’s well recognized skills in field identification are reflected in the detailed and careful documentations that he regularly includes with his seasonal observation summaries submitted to the seasonal report editors for IOS’s Meadowlark and the American Birding Association’s North American Birds publications. He also has years of service to eBird as a Regional Reviewer for Illinois.
Paul Sweet continues on IORC, being elected to a three year term, 2017-2019, following the expiration of his previous term of service at 2016’s end.
Stepping down from IORC is Greg Lambeth. Greg served a three year term from 2014 to 2016, and he was IORC’s Vice-Secretary during 2015 and 2016. Greg relocated to Idaho during 2016 so that his abilities in and knowledge of bird identification and distribution are being directed at a different part of the country. His valued contributions to and work with IORC will be missed.
The 2017 makeup of IORC is thus as follows.
- Josh Engel (Vice-Secretary)
- Matt Fraker
- Walter Marcisz
- Keith McMullen
- Doug Stotz
- Paul Sweet
- Geoff Williamson (Secretary)
Changes to the Review List
The “Review List” consists of all forms for which the IORC will review all records (possibly excepting records from specified areas for some forms). It includes species whose occurrence in the state is less than regular, but IORC may also include other forms as it sees fit, for instance species that involve identification difficulties.
At its 13 Feb 2017 Annual Meeting, IORC removed California Gull from the Review List and added Pacific Loon and Tricolored Heron.
Previously, California Gull in other than adult plumage was on the Review List, so that the change is now that IORC is not mandated to review all documentations of immature California Gulls. Documentation of California Gulls in any plumage that are submitted to IORC may still be reviewed, at IORC’s discretion; however, with the departure of California Gull from the review list, IORC will no longer actively solicit such documentation. This change was motivated by the regular stream during recent years of accepted documentations of immature California Gulls.
Pacific Loon was added because of the difficulties in making positive identification of this species under typical field conditions. Though Pacific Loon occurs regularly in the state, it does so only in small numbers, so that given the identification problems, IORC feels an accurate appraisal of its pattern of occurrence requires sufficient supporting details for any observation.
Tricolored Heron returns to the Review List after an absence of many years. Its previous removal from the Review List stemmed from a period during which many individuals occurred in Illinois in what became then a regular pattern. However, in the last decade the pattern has again changed to one of a virtual absence.
IORC reviewed record 2009-033, accepted as Green Violetear, in order to assess whether it would be possible to make a determination of its identity to species as either Mexican Violetear or Lesser Violetear, given the recent “split” of the two species involved. After a reviewing specimens of both forms at the Field Museum of Natural History and discussing the identification criteria, IORC accepted the record as a Mexican Violetear based on the photographic evidence available in the archive.
Mexican Violetear, 10 Aug 2009, St. Clair County. Photo copyright Rich Scheibel.