aba events

The Kaufman Challenge, v. 0.5

What could be simpler? Learn the names of fifty plants and animals around your home. That’s all there… [read more]

The Kaufman Challenge, v. 0.5 The Kaufman Challenge, v. 0.5

It’s OK to Talk to Strangers – at Least if They Have Binoculars

I was desperate to find another birder, but generally speaking there are few to be found in the Black… [read more]

It’s OK to Talk to Strangers – at Least if They Have Binoculars It's OK to Talk to Strangers - at Least if They Have Binoculars

Open Mic – The Endangered Species Act and Birds: A Wild Success?

At the Mic: Jason A. Crotty The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is difficult to evaluate, as its success… [read more]

Open Mic – The Endangered Species Act and Birds:  A Wild Success? Open Mic - The Endangered Species Act and Birds:  A Wild Success?

Announcing the 2016 ABA Awards Recipients!

The ABA Board of Directors recently voted to make three presentations of ABA Awards in 2016. The awardees… [read more]

Announcing the 2016 ABA Awards Recipients! Announcing the 2016 ABA Awards Recipients!

Introducing the 2016 ABA Bird of the Year!

We're excited, at last, to share this year's ABA Bird of the Year and artist. Thanks to artist… [read more]

Introducing the 2016 ABA Bird of the Year! Introducing the 2016 ABA Bird of the Year!

The ABA’s Spark Bird Project Puts Binoculars in the Hands of Kids

What could a kid discover if they had the tools we birders often take for granted? What could they find? Birds,… [read more]

The ABA’s Spark Bird Project Puts Binoculars in the Hands of Kids The ABA's Spark Bird Project Puts Binoculars in the Hands of Kids
Nikon Monarch 7

Rare Bird Alert: December 2, 2016


As 2016 draws ever closer to its close, the birding continues to be productive, in so far as a number of ABA Area rarities are continuing. Perhaps the story of this year has to do with the high quality rarities that have stuck around for so long in so many cases. It’s that sort of luck that has likely contributed, in its way, to the high umbers our Big Year birders continue to put up. I can’t recall a year like this, at least not in the years since I began keeping this weekly tally.

Bird continuing into this week include the ABA’s 4th Pine Bunting (ABA Code 5) in Gambell, Alaska, the ABA’s 2nd  Common Scoter (5) in Oregon, and the ABA’s 3rd Amazon Kingfisher (5) in Texas, the latter two at least through last weekend. Additionally, the long-staying Blue-footed Booby (4) in California was seen again this week, as was the Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Arizona.

The most interesting new bird of the week comes from Quebec, where a Common Shelduck (not on the checklist) was photographed at Rivière Brochu, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. This Eurasian species is not on the ABA Checklist as of yet, but this individual is only the latest of a number of records from Eastern Canada in late fall/early winter, strongly suggesting a pattern of natural vagrancy. A shelduck recorded in Newfoundland in November of 2015 was accepted by that province’s Bird Records Committee, the first such decision in the ABA Area, which means that the species will be under consideration by the ABA CLC in the coming year, if it is not already.


Photo: Bruno Duchesne/Macauley Library (S32800655)


There were only two first record this week. The first in Virginia, where a Lesser Goldfinch in Virginia Beach represents the 1st record for the state. The species has seen a significant expansion of its wintering range in recent years, so it is certainly one to put on the radar for birders in other nearby states.

Also in Virginia, a White-cheeked Pintail (3) was at Chincoteague NWR in Accomack, and a Black-throated Gray Warbler was seen in Fairfax.

The second comes from little District of Columbia, which is seldom mentioned here. A trio of Sandhill Cranes, photographed by a visitor, represents a 1st for the district. With that record, DC becomes the last jurisdiction in the continental US and Canada to record Sandhill Crane on its official list, leaving Hawaii alone among entities in the ABA Area with no record of them.

Florida, and specifically Miami-Dade county takes the prize as the site with the densest collection of ABA rarities. We could even be more specific, as Bill Baggs State Park enjoyed a Thick-billed Vireo  (4), a  Western Spindalis (3), and a LaSagra’s Flycatcher (4) in the last two weeks. Additionally, a 2nd Thick-billed Vireo (4) was found at Royal Palm Visitor’s Center, in Everglades National Park, in the same county.

South Carolina’s 4th record of Black Guillemot was photographed in Georgetown.

In North Carolina, an Iceland Gull is a nice bird, particularly one inland as in Guilford this week.

Maryland also had a Black-throated Gray Warbler this week, in Harford, one of fewer than 10 records for the state.

In Ontario, a Crested Caracara was discovered near Michipicoten, and a Thick-billed Murre at Cobden.

Nebraska had a Clark’s Grebe reported from Lancaster.

In Kansas, a Lewis’s Woodpecker has been present in Pottawatamie for a few days.

An American Black Duck in Weld, Colorado, is a good bird for the state.

In New Mexico, a Long-tailed Duck was found in Colfax.

And in British Columbia, a Slaty-backed Gull was photographed in Delta, and a Ferruginous Hawk in Creston.


Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org and I will try to fix them as soon as possible. This post is meant to be an account of the most recently reported birds. Continuing birds not mentioned are likely included in previous editions listed here. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes.

Readers should note that none of these reports has yet been vetted by a records committee. All birders are urged to submit documentation of rare sightings to the appropriate state or provincial committees. For full analysis of these and other bird observations, subscribe to North American Birds <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

Your Support Makes All the Difference!


screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-8-53-38-amBecause of your support, 2016 has been a wonderful year for the American Birding Association. We’ve seen continuing growth and gains in our membership, in our programs, and in our reputation and influence as a community.

If you’re proud of the progress we’ve made together and you want to see it continue, then I urge you to promote the cause of birding with a generous year-end gift to the ABA.

The end of the year is a crucial time for us. We need you, birding’s most passionate supporters, to step up and help us keep moving forward. Without your support, it won’t happen.

There’s so much exciting that has happened this year. For example, this year we were able to offer three young birder camps, filling them with the kids who are the future of our community – and we were proud to offer scholarship assistance to all those who needed it. Just a few years ago, we were only able to offer one camp. That’s a huge amount of progress and it’s possible thanks to you, our members and donors.

Speaking of members, we again added nearly 1,000 birders to our ranks over the past 12 months, as we did in 2015. That growth helps us work toward our mission in every way, but it doesn’t happen without effort, creativity, and yes, money.

And recently, my inbox has been filling up even more than usual with accolades for our membership publications, Birding and the Birder’s Guide series. So I know you’re enjoying those. I hope you also enjoy knowing that Birder’s Guide is available online to anyone, free, as are a cornucopia of other resources.

Your donations, especially those at year’s end, make all these good things happen. Please, give what you can today and help us keep growing, strengthening and inspiring the community of birders.

Thank you.

One Touch of Nature


Go to the gift shop at your local nature center and check out the section with journals, planners, and calendars. Pull one off the display, flip through the pages, and you’ll come upon the inevitable quotes by Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Aldo Leopold. And this one from William Shakespeare: “One touch of nature [read more…]

ICYMI: Bird Records Committees: A Modest Proposal

The ABA Blog has been in existence for almost 7 years, and there’s a lot of good content back in the archives that deserves an audience now that it might not have received way back when. So, semi-regularly we will bring some of that stuff back. Here’s one by Ted Floyd in this season of [read more…]

Blog Birding #298

Our time in nature is wonderful for the birds we enjoy, but also for the fellow travelers we meet, as Justin Cale reflects at Notes from the Wildside.

I continued my walk down the wide path that would eventually become the wall of a dam. Breathing in deeply, I couldn’t help but smile as I [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: November 26, 2016

We joke every year that November is better called “Novem-bird” (or, at least *I* do) because of the high quality and numbers of rarities that are found throughout the ABA Area in this month. This November started a bit lighter than in years past, but the last half has been exceptional. This week is no [read more…]

SNEAK PEEK! Birder’s Guide to Gear, 2016

The 2016 issue of Birder’s Guide to Gear is now being printed. That means that, if you’re an ABA member, you should find it in your mailbox in the next couple weeks. But you don’t have to wait until then to see what’s inside. And neither do non-members. You can see the entirety of [read more…]

#ABArare – Pine Bunting – Alaska

On November 23, Gambell birder Clarence Irrigoo found and photographed an ABA Code 5 Pine Bunting at Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. This is the 4th record of this species for Alaska and the ABA Area.

Photo: Clarence Irrigoo

Photo: Clarence Irrigoo

Pine Bunting breeds from western Siberia to the western [read more…]

ABA Big Year Update: Three Past the Record

The end of 2016 is only 5 weeks away and the Big Year birders are not slowing down at all. The last few weeks have seen a handful of noteworthy rarities in the ABA Area that have left the four bust as they travel around the US and Canada. The biggest news of the month [read more…]

Blog Birding #297

A recent journal article published in Science Advances suggests that the number of critically endangered bird species in the world may be far higher than we are aware of. John Platt at Extinction Countdown has more.

According to the paper, hundreds of bird species in six of the world’s most biodiverse regions have much smaller [read more…]

Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
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