22-B-2016 Baltimore Oriole

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
5-2
2ND ROUND
5-2
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1 adult male
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Kit Struthers
OTHER OBSERVERS
Found by Kit Struthers & Carolyn Bishop, Carolyn Bishop,
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Just north of 1700 North east of the frontage road along I-15 south of Hamer and north of Sage Junction, Jefferson County
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
sage
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Brief observation at the end of our birdathon day, probably about 5:00 PM or so.
Sunny, calm day. We were looking north, so the sun was pretty high in the sky to our left.
Swarovski 8x30 wide body/Kit. Carolyn also uses Swarovski; I'm not sure of the power.
I'm no good at estimating distances. Maybe 50 yards??
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
iBird Pro
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th edition.
Just to confirm our identification.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Oriole
Black head & throat,
bright orange breast and belly. Bird was perched on barbed wire fence facing us.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Bird was just perched on the fence. Didn't fly.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
All black head plus orange breast and belly clinched the identification. We were on this road looking for (and finding) Ferruginous Hawks. We were surprised to see the oriole, especially in this habitat. We were turning around after watching the hawks and were perpendicular in the road, facing north, and spotted the oriole. We had completed our turn to leave the area when Carolyn realized that she should have tried for a photo.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Bullock's Oriole, which is much more common here, doesn't have full black head.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I see Bullock's Orioles quite often; they nest in our yard. I first started birding in the Midwest where Baltimore Orioles are the common oriole. I have seen Baltimore Orioles more recently in Costa Rica (2009) and Panama (2014).
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I've been birding for 52 years. I can't claim expert status but certainly advanced intermediate, to use a skiing term. I've been birding for 52 years. I can't claim expert status but certainly advanced intermediate, to use a skiing term.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
None

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description is minimal but includes enough to be convincing.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

description of all black head with orange breast eliminates the similar Bullock's Oriole

Shirley Sturts
Accept

description of all black head with orange breast eliminates the similar Bullock's Oriole

Darren Clark
Accept

Observer didn't mention Orchard Oriole as a possibility (the other black-headed oriole), but the bird described as orange rather than rust separates the two.

Dave Trochlell
Reject, specific identification not established

I'll bet this bird actually was a Baltimore Oriole, but the description was just too weak for me to feel confidant in the ID. The rare bird description could easily apply to Orchard Oriole - another vagrant to the Gem State. Unfortunately, there are no details given about the bird's upperparts at all.

Doug Ward
Accept

While report scant on details, combination of distinctive species (male), observer experience, and comparison to male Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) sufficient to accept. Not concerned about habitat utilization – have seen many orioles myself in sage during migration.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

I would have liked to see a description of beak shape, etc. but fieldmarks strongly suggest a male Baltimore

Charles Swift
Reject, specific identification not established

Unfortunately the report is a bit too brief to be conclusive and does not eliminate other potential candidates such as Orchard Oriole (or even perhaps an oddly lit American Robin, although I'm assuming the observers would have eliminated that species from consideration). Also the timing and especially habitat are not ideal for a vagrant Baltimore Oriole which are generally found in riparian habitats in deciduous trees. (Most Idaho records also come from northern Idaho I believe.)

SECOND ROUND VOTING:

Doug Ward
Accept

As all agreed, the report in lacking in details, but I still believe enough is presented to accept.

Dave Trochlell
Reject, specific identification not established

Same comments.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

Minimal report but reference to "bright orange" eliminates Orchard, and observer is experienced with this species

Darren Clark
Accept

See first round comments

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Though details are limited I feel they are enough to support the identification.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

same comments

Charles Swift
Reject, specific identification not established

I was incorrect about timing (may have been confused on the observation date) and distribution of oriole records in Idaho (there are a number from southeast Idaho). However, the report still seems lacking in details considering this is a fairly rare eastern vagrant, plus the habitat does still seem anomalous to me. Admittedly vagrants can show up in strange places but in a sampling of images of Baltimore Orioles I could find in eBird from the intermountain west, most were in deciduous trees (willows, cottonwoods, etc.). If I'm not mistaken this area is pretty much sagebrush shrublands. So for these reasons I am voting to not accept again.