Letter from Noel
Re the forthcoming Upper Texas Coast "Roundup" within a 150 mile circle,
the "general concensus" referred to in the attached writeup (see above, eds.)
is not necessarily that of yours truly, who was such a strong advocate
of the 15 mile type census (which was subsequently activated by fellow 15
mile circle supporter, one Vic Emanuel) for its "scientific value",
rather than continuing to conduct the "unsanitary" "roundup" type count.
But ex-advertising man that I am, I feel obligated to put aside all personal
opinions on the relative merits of either type of count and utilize the
"Madison-Avenue-Friendly-Persuasion-Style" approach in promoting the 75
mile radius count in order to assure maximum cooperation in this quasi-
scientific venture. In other words, I'm stuck with it so why not make the
most of it? But then, as you well know, I am basically a Lister and must
therefore continue in my traditional role as O.G. Statistician, i.e., to
render statistical analyses of local records to the best of my ability
(the oath I took when I assumed my unofficial office on a lifetime beasis).
Supplementary data to "A Summary of Upper Texas Coast Christmas Counts"
(See The SPOONBILL - March, 1963 - Pages 7 and 8
In order to (1) clarify the statement made by the writer with regard to
revisions made at his discretion in the counts published by the National
Audubon Society (Clarification was parenthetically requested by the
SPOONBILL editors in the March issue, to wits "We would like to know which
species were deleted because they were questionable and what the criteria
were for the deletions and corrections, eds.) and (2) give readers some
idea of the difficulties encountered in analyzing and converting data for
52 Christmas Counts into consistently-comparable tables of figures, the
compiler respectfully submits the following typical examples of the various
types of revisions incorporated in the tabulated summary;
Houston - 1924: Count total as shown in "Bird-Lore" (Jan.-Feb., 1925) is
43 species but N.P. deletes two thrushes questioned by NAS editor for
lack of details (3 Wood Thrushes and 2 01ive-backed), substituting
Hermit Thrush (not even listed and yet a common winter resident) for
the others, thus a net loss of one species; N.P. also deletes Cooper's
Hawk (questioned by Houston Count compiler) and La. Waterthrush (questioned by NAS ed. - no details), thereby reducing total to 40 valid species
(43 includes all questionable species but excludes Hermit Thrush).
Houston - 1959: Only 52 observers listed in "Audubon Field Notes" (April,
1960); actually 53 participated in count (Harvey Patten, compiler for
1961 and 1962 counts, was erroneously omitted in AFN listing for 1959
count). Note; This error was discovered by N.P. after March, 1963
SPOONBILL went to press so 1959 total as shown in that issue should be
corrected to read 53 - highest number of observers participating in
any Houston count.
Galveston - 1950: "Audubon Field Notes" (April, 1951) states "total, 65
species" whereas 64 are actually listed.
Cove - 1942: Audubon Magazine" (Sec. II, Jan.-Feb., 1943) listing includes
Harlan's Hawk, but N.P. deletes in accordance with statement by
compiler (A.K. McKay) in letter to N.P., to wits "...I called immature
black Red-tailed Hawks Harlan's..."
Old Ocean - 1961; Two species (Greater Scaup and Audubon's Warbler) were
not printed in boldface in"Audubon Field Notes" (April, 1962) nor
followed by substantiating details, so were both deleted by N.P.
thus reducing total species from 72 to 70.
A great many additional examples could be cited were_.it not for the lack of
space - and interest of readers. However, complete details on all Upper
Texas Coast Counts (including individual totals for all species) may be
obtained from the writer who, incidentally, is most anxious to have all this
data reproduced so as to assure a permanent record which can be made
available to all interested Ornithology Group members. Anyone who might be
willing to accept this worthwhile, albeit tedious, task is invited to contact
the writer at 7115 Japonica, Houston 17.