Category: Blog


Published: December 2, 2014

Follow up: A first for Illinois, discovered in the Field Museum's collection

Joshua Engel, Research Assistant II, Integrative Research Center

Last week I wrote about the recent publication detailing the detective work that uncovered the first record of Western Flycatcher for Illinois. I didn't have time to include photos of the actual specimen, so here they are. The two birds on the left are Yellow-bellied Flycatchers from Illinois and the two on the right are Western Flycatchers from California (presumably Pacific-slope Flycatchers). The star of the show--Illinois' only Western Flycatcher--is in the middle. All are immatures birds from the fall--scroll to the bottom to see the specimen details. But first, one detail about the Illinois Western: the specimen was prepared by former museum volunteer Meera Lee Sethi, whose wonderful nature writing you can read on her blog. Coincidentally--very coincidentally--it looks like Meera just prepared another of the same species yesterday at the Burke Museum in Seattle! (The Internet never ceases to amaze.)

Specimen details, from left to right (all are immatures):

FMNH 362630: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), 20 August 1993, Chicago, IL (McCormick Place)
FMNH 466393: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris), 31 August 2009, Chicago, IL (225 Michigan Place)
FMNH 472922: Western Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis), 11 September 2010, Chicago, IL (McCormick Place)
FMNH 141044: Western Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis), 4 October 1904, San Diego Co., California
FMNH 141047: Western Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis), 3 December 1918, Santa Barbara Co., California