Pyle is of a slightly younger generation than all the rest of our 'top
40' selection, and he would become increasingly important in California
birding circles in the 1990s. [He only looks 'older' in the photo because
it is a recent 2002 shot]. Indeed, a quick glance at a selected list of
his publications (below) shows just how much effort and energy Peter expended
on important questions of bird identification, biology, and ecology after
the close of our period of review in 1989. However, Peter was an active
field biologist working for Point Reyes Bird Observatory on S.E. Farallon
I. from 1980 on, and he would become the premier biologist there in due
course (working not only on birds but pinnipeds and Great White Sharks).
He was selected for our 'top 40' because of the publication of his very
important book in the late 1980s (Pyle et al. 1981): his first banding
guide to North American passerines. It revolutionized the bird-banding
world, making accessible a plethora of in-hand criteria. These details
would also prove to be of great use in the field identification of birds.
From its publication, North America had an in-hand guide equal to those
available in Europe. Over the course of time, with additional experience
and extensive museum research, Peter would replace this first guide with
a tome twice as thick: Pyle (1997b). But that is after the end of our period
Peter grew up in a birding family. His family, Robert L. Pyle, is an
internationally known bird observer. Bob Pyle served as a Regional Editor
for Audubon Field Notes in southern California before our period
began in 1965, and continued as AFN/AB editor for Hawaii after moving there
in 1966. Bob Pyle became one of the premier field observers in Hawaii,
and Peter grew up there under his dad's tutelage. Peter's expertise extends
not only to Hawaiian birds, but to the landbirds of Micronesia and the
seabirds throughout the Pacific. Since joining PRBO, he has not only been
the biologist on the Farallones, but has conducted numerous seabird surveys
throughout the Pacific.
Photo: Peter Pyle (right in the picture) during a banding
demonstration at Big Sur Ornithology Lab in March 2002 © BSOL
|Significant bird records: numerous vagrants on S.E. Farallon I. were
found by Peter; the most important in our period were
Peter would be involved in many important records after 1989, including
Stejneger's Petrel (14 Nov 1990, 2nd CA record), and a host of rarities
from the Farallone Islands.
Dusky Warbler 27 Sep 1980 S.E. Farallon I., S.F. — first CA
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 21 Aug 1985 S.E. Farallon I., S.F.
— 2nd CA record [co-bander]
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 3 Sep 1986 S.E. Farallon I., S.F.
— 3rd CA record
Veery 26 Sep 1985 S.E. Farallon I., S.F. — 5th CA record
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 8 Sep 1989 S.E. Farallon I., S.F.
— 5th CA record
Black-billed Cuckoo 18 Oct 1985 S.E. Farallon I., S.F. — 7th
Gray-cheeked Thrush 26 Sep 1986 S.E. Farallon I., S.F. — 8th
LeConte's Sparrow 11 Sep 1986 S.E. Farallon I., S.F. — 9th
Selected publications 1983-1989:
Selected publications since 1989:
Pyle, P. B., DeSante, D. F., Boekelheide, R. J., and Henderson, R. P. 1983.
A Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus) on Southeast Farallon Island,
California. Auk 100: 995-996.
Pyle, P. and Engbring. J. 1985. Checklist of the birds of Micronesia. Elepaio
Pyle, P., Howell, S.N.G., Yunick, R.P., and DeSante, D.F. 1987. Identification
guide to North American passerines. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA.
DeSante, D. F., and Pyle, P. 1986. Distributional Checklist of North American
Birds. Artemisia Press, Lee Vining, CA.
Pyle, P., and Henderson, P. 1990. On separating female and immature Oporornis
in fall. Birding 22: 222-229.
Pyle, P., Spear, L.B., and Engbring, J. 1990. A previously unreported population
of herald petrel on Ta'u Island, American Samoa. Colonial Waterbirds 13:136-138.
Pyle, P. , and Henderson, R.P. 1991. The birds of Southeast Farallon Island:
occurrence and seasonal distribution of migratory species. West. Birds
Pyle, P., Spear, L.B. ,Sydeman, W.J. , and Ainley, D.G. 1991. The effects
of experience and age on the breeding performance of Western Gulls. Auk
Pyle, P., and McCaskie, G. 1992. Thirteenth report of the California Bird
Records Committee. West. Birds 23:97-132.
Pyle, P., and Sibley, D. 1992. Juvenal-plumaged Le Conte's Sparrows on
migration: Are they being overlooked? Birding 24:70-76.
Pyle, P., and Howell, S. N. G. 1993. An Arctic Warbler in Baja California,
Mexico. West. Birds 24:53-56.
Pyle, P. 1993. A Markham's Storm-Petrel in the northeastern Pacific. West.
Pyle, P., Spear, L. B., and Ainley, D. G. 1993. Observations of Dark-rumped
Petrels off Oregon and California. West. Birds 24:110-112.
Pyle, P., Nur, N., Henderson , R.P. and DeSante, D.F. 1993. Effects of
weather and lunar cycle on nocturnal migration of landbirds at Southeast
Farallon Island, California. Condor 95: 343-361.
Pyle, P., Nur, N., and DeSante, D.F. 1994. Trends in nocturnal migrant
landbird populations at Southeast Farallon Island, California, 1968-1992.
Studies in Avian Biology 15: 58-74.
Pyle, P., and DeSante, D.F. 1994. Trends in waterbirds and raptors at Southeast
Farallon Island, California, 1974-1993. Bird Populations 2: 33-43.
Pyle, P., Hanni, K., and Smith, D. 1994. Bird notes from Isla Guadalupe,
including three new island records. Euphonia 3:1-4.
Pyle, P. , and Howell, S.N.G. 1996. Spizella sparrows: intraspecific
variation and identification. Birding 28: 374-387.
Pyle, P. 1997a. A new look at wing and tail formulae in Contopus
and Empidonax flycatchers. Allan Phillips Festschrift.
Pyle, P. 1997b. Identification Guide to North American Birds, Part 1.
Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA.
Pyle, P. 1997c. Molt limits in North American passerines. North Amer. Bird
Bander 22: 49-89.
Pyle, P., and Unitt, P. 1998. Molt and plumage variation by age and sex
in the California and Black-tailed Gnatcatchers. West. Birds 29: 280-289.
Pyle, P., and Nestler, J. 1998. First record of a Cuculus cuckoo on Midway
Atoll and the Hawaiian Islands. West. Birds 29: 124-127.
Pyle, P., Sydeman, W.J., McLaren, E.B. 1999. Organochlorine concentrations,
eggshell thickness, and hatchability in seabirds off Central California.
Waterbirds 22: 376-381.
Pyle, P., Sydeman, W.J., and Hester, M. 2001. Effects of age, breeding
experience, mate fidelity and site fidelity on breeding performance in
a declining population of Cassin's Auklets. J. Animal Ecology 70: 1088-1097.
Pyle, P. 2001. Age at first breeding and natal dispersal in a declining
population of Cassin's Auklet. Auk 118: 996-1007.
Ainley, D.G., Veit, R.L., Allen, S.G., Spear, L.B. , and Pyle, P. 1995.
Variations in marine bird communities of the California Current, 1986-1994.
CalCOFI Reports 36: 72-77.