A bookish enquiry re American birds

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: A bookish enquiry re American birds
From: "Gil Langfield" <>
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2005 11:59:28 +1100
My wife researches Welsh Patagonian history and received the following
E-mail from a correspondent recently.  As a birdwatcher with some experience
in both the US and Argentina, I was intrigued and did some research with the
few books that I have.

I will E-mail the photo of the page to anybody who is interested.  I am not
sure whether I agree with the suggested new names of the birds.  My US field
guides show the male redstart as having a black, not red bib and red on the
wings and tail, not yellow.  The Hooded Warbler in my books also looks quite
different from the Selby's Gnatcatcher in the picture.  BirdArea suggests
that the American Redstart migrates as far as Brazil and Chile but not
Argentina.  It also suggests that the Hooded Warbler only reaches to about
Venezuela and Colombia.

Please E-mail me if you have any suggestions.

"A few years ago an English friend sent me as a present an old engraving
(almost certainly a page from a book) which I had framed. I attach a photo
of the (now framed) picture - please excuse the reflection of the flash.

I was immediately intrigued by the fact that - as you can see - the birds
are labelled in English and Welsh, yet they appeared to be from the American

The names of the birds have changed through the years, and I am reasonably
sure that the "Selby's Gnat-catcher", is now known as "Selby's Flycatcher"
or, more commonly, the "Hooded Warbler".

The "Yellow-tailed Gnat-catcher", on the other hand, is now known as the
"Yellow-tailed Warbler", or more commonly as the (American) "Redstart".

Both these birds are widespread in the USA, but migrate to South America in
the winter - but how far south, I don't know.

I would love to know from which old bird book this plate (XXIV) was removed,
and whether the book might have been specifically written to include Welsh
readers in the USA or Patagonia.

I have read quite a few books about Patagonia, and know that from 1880
onwards the Welsh-Patagonian community was publishing schoolbooks in Welsh.

I would be most grateful if you can shed any light upon this minor mystery;
please do not hesitate to pass this request on to anyone in Welsh-Patagonia
who might have some specialist ornithological knowledge!"

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