Via The New York Birding List, I am delighted to learn the New York State Avian Records Committee has officially accepted the 2007-2008 Union Square Scott’s Oriole as a legitimate record, marking the Official One True and Only First State Record of Icterus parisorum for New York.
What does this mean, exactly? It means that NYSARC, composed of eight illustrious and experienced New York birders, has gone over all submitted records of Scotty – the photos, the written descriptions, any recordings that were made – and determined that he A.) is an actual, honest-to-goodness Scott’s Oriole and B.) can be reasonably believed to have gotten to Union Square under his own power, rather than escaping from captivity. Since 1977, the committee has used this two-pronged criteria to determine which birds are and are not recognized rarities in New York State. Sometimes it can get quite complicated, with discussions of hypothetical hybrids and tail-feather wear from cages spanning years. The result, after the votes are counted, is the official list of birds known to occur in New York.
The committee also accepted four other new additions to the state list for 2007/2008 – the Western M(*^$^&^%&^^ing Reef-heron, Pink-footed Goose, Cassin’s Kingbird, and Yellow/Eastern Yellow Wagtail. This brings New York’s list to 475.
If it seems like I’ve been waiting eagerly for this day, I have. Things don’t always work out so happily for listers and the megararities they cherish.