There is plenty of information at hand within these pages, however, please do not hesitate in using the contact us page via the menu or the info@westmidlandbirdclub link at the foot of all pages if you would like to take a personal approach to gathering information; the Club Secretary will be pleased to deal with any enquiry. There is great scope to become involved in a wide range of Club activities, likewise you can go about your birding activities on a personal level and simply enjoy what the West Midland Bird Club has to offer in assisting your interests.
Changes in taxonomic order
and the eﬀect this will have on our Annual Report.
The sequence of species in the Club’s Annual Report No. 82, covering the year 2015, follows that of the Eighth Edition of the British List (BOU. 2016) produced by the British Ornithologists’ Union. Our report includes changes to the list that have been made up to 2016.
There have been recent changes to this list and there are more to
come. When it is considered to be appropriate with the
chronological order of our report in relation to the timing of new
taxonomic ﬁndings, the West Midland Bird Club Annual Report,
‘The Birds of Staﬀordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the
West Midlands’, will introduce any new changes. Our report is a
historic review of the birds in our region in a speciﬁc year, the entire
content of which is dedicated to that year. We feel that it would be
inaccurate to include changes in our 2016 report, No. 82, that had
not been implemented by BOU until a later date, albeit that the
publication date of the report may reﬂect the year in which changes
Our systematic list of bird species follows a taxonomic order that appears in a sequence according to how long they are thought to have evolved. Early lists comprise an order based on observable similarities and diﬀerences between birds regarding their assumed genealogy. The approach to the list changed with the introduction of DNA testing, more speciﬁcally, by examining and presenting the properties of DNA molecular structures. In layman’s terms, the sequence is now based on new scientiﬁc evidence rather than perceived observable traits. There are species that still retain their position in the systematic list based on this latter perception, is it now just a matter of time before their order is re-identiﬁed?
When our current Report Editor, Dave Emley, took up his position in 1999 and produced Report No. 66, the taxonomic sequence ‘systematic list’ began with divers. In 2002, report No. 69, new scientiﬁc evidence prompted the change to Mute Swan becoming the ﬁrst species in the list, in other words, as a result of DNA testing and a greater understanding, we now know that Mute Swan evolved before Red-throated Diver. Other changes have occurred in connection with scientiﬁc evidence forming a new taxonomic order, Corn Bunting was replaced by Reed Bunting as being the last species in the list, reﬂected in report No. 81 for the year 2014. Who would have envisaged that falcons would have been separated from other birds of prey, these now appearing much later in the list as an independent group, this has also been introduced into our report No. 81. The latest BOU list, the ninth edition December 2017, sees Mute Swan replaced by Brent Goose as the ﬁrst in the list. The ﬁnal sequence of buntings in the current 2018 list has recently changed again and now reads, Reed Bunting, Lapland Bunting and the list ends with Snow Bunting, yet to be included in our report. Other changes in sequence, too numerous to mention and too frequent in occurrence, have also been made since the commencement of the 21st century.
As a result of these changes I am no longer able to open our report or my ﬁeld guide to within a few pages of where I expected to ﬁnd the bird of my choice. This, however, is little price to pay in knowing that the evidence that prompts these changes is far more accurate than in times gone by, a comforting thought based on the fact that accuracy is what we are all about. We must not lose sight of the fact that we pursue a hobby that is based on a science, ornithology, the scientiﬁc study of birds.
The aim of the BOU is to unify the world list in accordance with the ﬁndings of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) World Bird List. As of 1st January 2018, the British List will conform to this sequence. The West Midland Bird Club are fully supportive of this action in uniﬁcation.
Corn Bunting by Steve Seal, one of the species involved in taxonomic change
Cetti's Warbler - Mick Erwin