Mistaken Identity – Birds and Ancestors

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) by Judd Patterson

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) by Judd Patterson

Here is an interesting email notice:

SK?????@?.com via listserv.usf.edu
3:13 PM (4 minutes ago) to BRDBRAIN

Mental error, Brown Thrasher not Brown Creeper. S???? Tampa, Fl

To subscribe, unsubscribe or view archives of the brdbrain listserv list, please visit us on the web at:
http://listserv.usf.edu/archives/brdbrain.html

Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) ©USFWS

I belong to the BRDBRAIN reports that come out about bird sitings here in Florida. The University of Florida has several “listserv list.” Birds being one of them. When someone spots especially a bird that is uncommon to the area, they report it. Then, as true birders, especially those trying to build their “Life List” of birds, they scurry off to see it and add it to their Lists. Most of you know what I am referring to.

So, in this case, S???? had reported the wrong bird and was correcting his error. We have all had to “eat crow” over something we have said. At least I have.

In the last article, Where are you from? – Correction, one of my blogging friends made a reply and I answered them. Aussiebirder has a great blog and you should drop by there to see it. I answered them but would like to use this blog to further explain how things happen with bird lists and ancestry lists.

Their remark: “From my findings some of these genealogy companies, especially the ones using DNA typings do not contribute any practical links to a specific family with any accuracy or even traceable evidence.” and here is my reply, “It was not really ancestry’s fault as much as those who blindly connect people to their trees without much research. My problem came before I received my DNA results. This might just be a good topic for a post. I am finding quite a bit from my results. Humm. A post topic. Hope the “only birders” won’t mind. :)”

I just now bolded, the part I would like to address. Just as the person above misidentified the wrong bird, those doing their genealogy, do the same thing. Ancestry and other like services [My Heritage, Family Tree, Geni, etc.], provide “Hints” for a possible fact to be applied to the Family tree they are working on.

We, birders and genealogist, are so eager to add another “notch” to our list, that we overlook some of the other facts. Did the bird have red or black eyes, stripes or streaks, etc? Did the person that you are trying to add live long enough to produce offspring? [That is a favorite mistake that I see. They are like 7 years old when their child is born. WHOA!!

Broken Limb/Branch off of Tree

I had to “chop that branch” off my tree because I had mistakenly not checked all the facts. My new DNA results are actually helping me find some of my great nieces and nephews from parts of our family that we had lost track of. [By the way, I am trying to see if that tree might produce another limb, just as interesting as the other.

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) ©WikiC [At least it’s brown! :) ]

As you study the birds more and more and have practical experience in the field, you are less apt to make mistakes. Are you ever going to be right 100% of the time? Dream on!

Am I ever going to remove another limb from my tree, or at least a “twig”? Most likely.

What we do is keep doing our best and do not be afraid to admit that a mistake was made. Not admitting a mistake is worse than making a mistake and not admitting it. Especially, not trying to correct our mistakes.

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Our paster is always telling us to, “tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.”

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16 NASB)

Where Are You From? II – Correction

Where Are You From? – II

Where Are You From? – I

Where Are You From? Part II – Correction

Broken Limb/Branch off of Tree

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:16-17 NKJV)

In Where Are You From? Part II, I have found there was a mistake in my genealogy to Mercy Howland. When I applied to the Howland Society for membership, I had to produce the descendant lines. Apparently, Mercy Howland has been mistreated by Ancestry.com and has caused family trees of members to be misled. Mine included. In other words, I was told that we were related when we weren’t.

Jean, at the Society, was very nice and did try to find out about it, but as you can see from the two emails from her, apparently, I am not related to the Howlands off the Mayflower.

“My problem at the moment is that I have an email in to the Mayflower Society as I see that John and Mary (LEE) Howland did have a child Mercy in Plymouth but she did not live.  Also, all their children were born in Plymouth or Barnstable.  But I do have an email in to the Mayflower as to the status of “Mercy” Howland. because lines are opening up everyday!!!!” More later, Jean”

“Just got word [from Mayflower Society] that there is no additional proofs to indicate that Mercy lived.  Lots of mismanaged “Trees” on Ancestry that indicate otherwise.  But it is not true.  Sorry.”

All of this was said to say, that apparently I am not related to John Howland that fell overboard and hung on to the rope. At least, unless someone can prove that Mercy Howland did have descendants. So for now, I have chopped that limb off of my ancestral tree. Still the Lord, in His sovereignty spared his life for the 2 million descendants of his [John Howlands]

Black-faced Dacnis (Dacnis lineata) Female ©WikiC

All of this still reminds me of the uncertainty and flux in the avian world. They are still reshuffling birds around. The Aves – A Taxonomy in Flux site will give you an idea of how the birds keep changing because of DNA and other studies.

Aves – A Taxonomy in Flux

Just May 19th and 20th this year:

May 20

Chaetura Swifts: Continuing the Ridgely splits (Ridgely and Greenfield, 2001), I’ve split Tumbes Swift, Chaetura ocypetes, from Short-tailed Swift, Chaetura brachyura.
[Apodidae, Apodiformes, 3.09]

Cardinalidae: Another IOC/Ridgely and Greenfield (2001) split is Olive Tanager, Habia frenata, from Carmiol’s Tanager, Habia carmioli.
[Cardinalidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.05]

Thraupidae: Still following IOC and Ridgely and Greenfield (2001), Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Dacnis egregia (inc. aequatorialis) has been split from Black-faced Dacnis, Dacnis lineata.

Also, the Black-and-chestnut Warbling-Finch, Poospiza whitii, has been split from the Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch, Poospiza nigrorufa based on Jordan et al. (2017), Shultz and Burns (2013), and SACC Proposal 753.
[Thraupidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.05]

Caribbean Hornero (Furnarius longirostris) ©©Flickr DaveCurtis

Caribbean Hornero (Furnarius longirostris) ©©Flickr DaveCurtis

May 19

Elaenias: Based on Tang et al. (2018), I have rearranged Elaenia and returned Chilean Elaenia, Elaenia chilensis, to Sierran Elaenia, Elaenia pallatangae.
[Tyrannidae, Tyrannida II, 3.06]

Furnariinae: I have accepted several splits from IOC and Ridgely/Tudor (2009). Subspecies are allocated as in IOC.

  1. Pacific Tuftedcheek, Pseudocolaptes johnsoni, is split from Buffy Tuftedcheek, Pseudocolaptes lawrencii.
  2. Pacific Hornero, Furnarius cinnamomeus, and Caribbean Hornero, Furnarius longirostris, are split from Pale-legged Hornero, Furnarius leucopus.
  3. Striped Woodhaunter, Automolus subulatus, is split into Western Woodhaunter, Automolus virgatus and Eastern Woodhaunter, Automolus subulatus.
  4. Plain Thornbird, Phacellodomus inornatus is split from Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Phacellodomus rufifrons
  5. Creamy-breasted Canastero, Asthenes dorbignyi is split into Pale-tailed Canastero, Asthenes huancavelicae, Rusty-vented Canastero, Asthenes dorbignyi, and Dark-winged Canastero, Asthenes arequipae.

Baron’s Spinetail, Cranioleuca baroni, has been lumped into Line-cheeked Spinetail, Cranioleuca antisiensis. See Seeholzer and Brumfield (2018) and SACC Proposal 762.
[Furnariidae, Furnariida II, 3.05]

From that same page:

2018 Additions and Subtractions

Based on scientific names.

2018 Splits (34)

Tropical Gnatcatcher (Polioptila plumbea) ©Flickr barloventomagico

  1. Tumbes Swift, Chaetura ocypetes
  2. Striolated Manakin / Western Striped-Manakin, Machaeropterus striolatus
  3. Painted Manakin / Peruvian Striped-Manakin, Machaeropterus eckelberryi
  4. Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus obscurus
  5. Darwin’s Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus nanus
  6. San Cristobal Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus dubius
  7. Blackish Chat-Tyrant, Ochthoeca nigrita
  8. Maroon-belted Chat-Tyrant, Ochthoeca thoracica
  9. Pacific Tuftedcheek, Pseudocolaptes johnsoni
  10. Pacific Hornero, Furnarius cinnamomeus
  11. Caribbean Hornero, Furnarius longirostris
  12. Western Woodhaunter, Automolus virgatus
  13. Plain Thornbird, Phacellodomus inornatus
  14. Pale-tailed Canastero, Asthenes huancavelicae
  15. Dark-winged Canastero, Asthenes arequipae.
  16. Eastern Tropical Gnatcatcher, Polioptila atricapilla
  17. Western Tropical Gnatcatcher, Polioptila parvirostris
  18. Maranon Gnatcatcher Polioptila maior
  19. Northwestern Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbiceps
  20. Yucatan Gnatcatcher, Polioptila albiventris
  21. White-browed Gnatcatcher, Polioptila bilineata
  22. Himalayan Shortwing, Brachypteryx cruralis
  23. Chinese Shortwing, Brachypteryx sinensis
  24. Taiwan Shortwing, Brachypteryx goodfellowi
  25. Sumatran Shortwing, Brachypteryx saturata
  26. Flores Shortwing, Brachypteryx floris
  27. Bornean Shortwing, Brachypteryx erythrogyna
  28. Philippine Shortwing, Brachypteryx poliogyna
  29. Mt. Apo Shortwing, Brachypteryx mindanensis
  30. Peruvian Pipit, Anthus peruvianus
  31. Puna Pipit, Anthus brevirostris
  32. Olive Tanager, Habia frenata
  33. Yellow-tufted Dacnis, Dacnis egregia
  34. Black-and-chestnut Warbling-Finch, Poospiza whitii

2018 Lumps (4)

  1. Chaco Nothura, Nothura chacoensis
  2. Chilean Elaenia, Elaenia chilensis
  3. Baron’s Spinetail, Cranioleuca baroni
  4. South Georgia Pipit, Anthus antarcticus

“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18 NKJV)

Am disappointed about not being related to John Howland? A little, but I still have a great family and heritage. My Christian family is even larger and I do not have any way to trace their roots. Yet, when we all get to heaven, OH! What a reunion that will be! All my spiritual family and many of my own genetic family there.

What a reunion day!

to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21 NKJV)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:16-17 NKJV)

Where Are You From I

Where Are You From II

Where Are You From?

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) by Lee

Wood Stork Tree at Circle B by Lee

When I work on the updates to the I.O.C. every so often, it is because the ornithologist have been asking questions about the birds. Where are they from? Where did they migrate? What is the latest DNA discoveries? And so they split and lump the birds again and again.

Genetic guide to birds – ©Scientific Am

The researchers with Answers in Genesis and at the Institute for Creation ask questions also about the birds and critters. Where did they come from? How many different kinds were on the Ark? They check DNA also. Birds in A Family Tree, and Creationism, And Evolution and Hybrid Animals

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Chicks in nest ©WikiC

I am no different from them, except I am not a scientist, just curious. My interest of late has been split between birds and working on the genealogy of my ancestors. They both have similarities. Where did they come from?

This verse in Nehemiah sort of explains how some birds get removed from families. When the ornithologist analyzes the DNA, they find out that that bird wasn’t even related.

“These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.” (Nehemiah 7:64 KJV) [In other words, they didn’t belong with that group.]

We know without any doubt that the Lord God created the birds as well as my ancestors and myself as well. That is a given!

As the birds spread from the Ark, they have been able to live in some areas more than others. They made their homes there. Others stayed, but couldn’t survive. They died off and became extinct, like so many of those Reunion birds.

Dan and I sitting way out front.

Like the birds, my brother and I just made the decision to have our DNA tested. We shall find out if we really are who we think we are. Trust they don’t throw us out of the Boles/Bushnell family.

On Thursday, instead of writing blogs, I was working on my genealogy and made a FANTASTIC discovery!!! We weren’t traced back to the Ark, but, we do relate back to the Rogers family that came over on the MAYFLOWER! [For our foreign readers that may not know the American history, that ship brought the first settlers to America here in 1620 AD.]

Replica of Mayflower in Plymouth, Massachusetts ©WikiC

This post has two main purposes:

1) The posts haven’t been produced as often lately, because of working on my ancestry.

2) Are any of my readers also interested in tracing your family tree? Just because we love birds doesn’t mean we do not have other interest. If you would leave a comment about your other interests besides birds, they would be appreciated.

Have a great day and stay tuned!

Birds, People and DNA

Flamingo by Dan' at Flamingo Gardens

Flamingo by Dan at Flamingo Gardens

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:21-22 NKJV)

Recently, I have been interested in genealogy. I have been working on our ancestry while staying home since I have been “under the weather.” It is really fun and exciting finding out about my previous generations. It also can be time-consuming and addictive, if you let it.

I can only imagine how those that are working on the DNA of our avian friends feel. If you have been following this blog very long, you know that I keep updating my Birds of the World when a new version comes out. When the Ver. 4.2 came out I.O.C. Version 4.2 Updated, I wrote this:

“They (the birds) are still doing as commanded by the Lord to reproduce and keeping the ornithologist busy naming, renaming, and rearranging them.

This time they renamed one and moved it to a new family just for it. The Spotted Wren-Babbler (Spelaeornis formosus) was in the Timaliidae Family. It has been renamed the Spotted Elachura (Elachura formosa) and placed in its own Elachuridae Family. (I do not have permission yet to post a photo.)

Version 4.2 also took the Lark Family and tossed it up in the air and rearranged it. See the Alaudidae – Larks Family. The DNA researches are keeping them busy keeping up with how the birds bred. Some of the scientific names were changed:”

Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Maybe the DNA Bird Researchers could hire this Leaftosser to help them out. Not sure if the next version coming out soon will toss another family up in the air or not.

Of course, we believe that God created these beautiful, and not so beautiful, birds and not by evolution over millions of years. Yes, they did inter-breed over the years and you have different looks and songs within the families. But they are still birds and the Lord has wonderfully made DNA that helps trace that.

Today, you can trace your own ancestors through DNA. I don’t understand much about it, but what I do know is this:

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. (Psalms 139:14 NKJV)

Here are some interesting articles that do discuss DNA from a Christian Perspective:

(From this article) But nowhere does the Bible say that species cannot change! Instead, it seems that they would have to change—within the limits of their own interbreeding kind—in order to fulfill God’s command in Genesis 1 for His living creatures to fill the earth and its many changing environments.

Darwin insisted that animals slowly change between kinds. In contrast, seedeater birds have shown that they rapidly changed within their kind. Despite Campagna’s touting of Darwin’s “accomplishments,” these birds display programmed variation, not evolution.

Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris) ©WikiC

Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris) ©WikiC

Good News
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Version 3.3 Finished – Taxonomy or Genealogy?

Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina) female by Raymond Barlow

Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina) female by Raymond Barlow

As I mentioned in Here We Go Again – IOC Version 3.3, I skipped doing the Fringillidae – Finches Family because of the many taxonomy changes. Well, all the others were finished and decided to dig in to those Finches. After deciding to make the changes directly on the page by cutting, moving, and re-pasting in its new position, the process began.

At 2:00 AM this morning I finally finished the page. I couldn’t stop in the middle with everything so juggled around, so I kept going. After some sleep, I had to chuckle about what they did to that poor Finch family. It was not just moving one genus to another spot, but it appeared that they picked and chose this one species from here and another species from a different genus. If that wasn’t challenging enough, the genus (the first name in parenthesis) was changed on quite a few birds. For example the Evening Grosbeak above was shuffled, while the American Goldfinch went from (Carduelis tristis) to (Spinus tristis)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) on Thistle by Fenton

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) on Thistle by Fenton

“For I am the LORD, I do not change; (Malachi 3:6a NKJV)

All of these birds were re-named to the Spinus genus and placed in this new order:

Tibetan Serin (Spinus thibetanus)
Lawrence’s Goldfinch (Spinus lawrencei)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)
Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)
Antillean Siskin (Spinus dominicensis)
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)
Black-capped Siskin (Spinus atriceps)
Black-headed Siskin (Spinus notatus)
Black-chinned Siskin (Spinus barbatus)
Yellow-bellied Siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus)
Olivaceous Siskin (Spinus olivaceus)
Hooded Siskin (Spinus magellanicus)
Saffron Siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii)
Yellow-faced Siskin (Spinus yarrellii)
Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus)
Black Siskin (Spinus atratus)
Yellow-rumped Siskin (Spinus uropygialis)
Thick-billed Siskin (Spinus crassirostris)
Andean Siskin (Spinus spinescens)

If you wonder why, as I did, check out this article about The phylogenetic relationships and generic limits of finches (Fringillidae). If you scroll through, you will find there are re connections all over the place. Do I understand it, No. But summarized, they have been doing DNA studies and found out that their family tree was not what they thought.

Recently I started working on our Family Tree or Genealogy and just about tangled it up as much. One wrong branch led to another and who knows where it and Grandpa would have landed had it not been corrected. This is what they were doing to the Finches and also to the other two families that had major revamps with this latest Version 3.3. The other families were the  Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks and Eagles, and  Caprimulgidae – Nightjars. At times it felt like they had thrown all the names of those birds up in the air and let them land where ever they chose. They, those that are involved around the world, have done much research and have spent numerous hours working these changes out. They are to be commended.

I trust the next version has a little fewer changes. I need my sleep.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (Psalms 127:2 KJV)

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, (Proverbs 24:33 ESV)