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

#ABArare – Eurasian Sparrowhawk – Alaska


St. Paul and Gambell are the most popular fall hotspots in western Alaska, but the Aleutians produce as well, despite less coverage. Frank and Barb Haas hit the jackpot on the western Aleutian island of Adak this past Wednesday (9/21) when they photographed an unusual Accipiter that looks like a good candidate for the ABA Area’s 1st record of Eurasian Sparrowhawk.


Photos by Frank & Barb Haas, used with permission.

It wasn’t until later in the week that the bird was reported, initially as an odd Northern Goshawk. Subsequent discussion on the ID-Frontiers clarified the ID. Despite some searching from other birders in the last few days, the bird has not been refound.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a wide ranging Eurasian raptor, found across the entirety of the Palearctic. It has long been considered a likely vagrant to the ABA Area in Alaska and, in fact, there have been at least two previous reports that remain unconfirmed and unaccepted by Alaskan authorities. Both are from the western Aleutians, 1 from Attu and a second from Adak, famously seen by 2013 Big Year birder Neil Hayward.

Rare Bird Alert: September 23, 2016


According to our friends at Birdcast, this past week was a good one for migration with fair to excellent conditions across the continent. As such, the rare birds alerts were more active this week, with a number of notable vagrants moving along with the expected species, particularly on the left half of North America.

Continuing birds include the very long-staying Little Egret (ABA Code 4) in Maine, the Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) in Texas, and the Jack Snipe (4) on St. Paul Island in Alaska.

One of the more consistent storylines of the fall has been the exceptional number of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (3) found in the interior of the continent. The most recent is a well-documented individual in Carver, Minnesota, where it represents a 1st record for the state.

This Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is one of several seen in the middle of the continent this fall, and a first for Minnesota. Photo: Steve Broste

This Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is one of several seen in the middle of the continent this fall, and a first for Minnesota. Photo: Steve Broste

Saskatchewan also had a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (3) reported this week from Saskatoon, where it will represent a 1st provincial record if confirmed.

Elsewhere in western Canada, a Red-shouldered Hawk was found in Victoria, British Columbia.

Oregon had a young Emperor Goose in Coos.

Good birds in California this week include a Yellow-green Vireo (3) in San Luis Obispo and a Tricolored Heron at the Salton Sea in Imperial.

Nevada also had a report of a Yellow-green Vireo (3) in Clark.

It’s not a storm-petrel, but a Hooded Warbler in Yavapai is still a noteworthy bird for Arizona

In Utah, a Ruff (3) is an exceptional find in Farmington Bay.

New Mexico hosted a number of eastern vagrants this week, the most notable of which was a Philadelphia Vireo in Bernalillo.

Still a great bird in the interior of the continent, a Lesser Black-backed Gull was found at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas.

Iowa had a lingering Swallow-tailed Kite this week near the town of Hitchcock.

In Michigan, a Glossy Ibis was a good find in Shiawassee.

Maryland had a Brown Booby (3) just outside of Baltimore Harbor in Kent, this week.

New Jersey hosted a handsome Lark Bunting at Sandy Hook in Monmouth.

Connecticut’s 3rd record of Say’s Phoebe was found near Easton. It was the 1st chaseable record of the species in the state.

Excellent for Rhode Island was a well-photographed Northern Wheatear in Bristol.

New Hampshire had a stunning Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Grafton this week.

And good birds in Nova Scotia this week include a Pacific Golden-Plover at Cow Bay, and a Gull-billed Tern and Lark Bunting at Bon Portage.


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.

American Birding Expo Wrap-up

Last weekend the ABA Lounge was open for visitors at the American Birding Expo in Columbus Ohio. Hats off to Expo organizers Bill Thompson III and Wendy Clark, as well as the whole Birdwatcher’s Digest team, for a wonderful event. The expo featured tour companies and guides from virtually every part of the globe, optics [read more…]

Test your ID Skills with the ABA Photo Quiz

Birders love Photo ID quizzes. Or, at least, they certainly get a lot of attention. Maybe we like tackling the finer points of bird ID when the obvious stuff is obscured. Or maybe those of us who are adept at taking poor bird photos hold out hope that our headless, branch-obscured, butt shots can find [read more…]

ICYMI: THE Top 10: Reasons to make Hawaii part of the ABA Area

Editor’s Note: The discussion regarding the addition of Hawaii to the ABA Area is ongoing, and we encourage ABA members to make their views known by filling out a proxy ballot answering this question. We hope you have also seen the August 2016 issue of Birding magazine. To continue that conversation, here’s a piece from [read more…]

Blog Birding #289

It’s worth noting, in this exciting time of year, that there are lots of wonderful resources available for birders looking to make the most of their fall. Birdcast, by the folks who brought you eBird, is one of the finest, and is worth a daily visit this time of year.

Marginal and locally favorable migration [read more…]

Sponsor Shoutout: ABA Partners with Global Rescue

The best birders know that there’s great birdwatching to be found off the beaten path.

“Off the beaten path” also happens to be a very bad place to find trouble. That’s why the American Birding Association has continued its partnership with Global Rescue, the ABA’s Official Emergency Medical and Evacuation Provider.

Global Rescue has been [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: September 16, 2016

Finally, at long last, the zugunruhe of autumn is starting to clear our long-staying ABA Area vagrants. Many of the Arizona birds were not reported this week (maybe AZ birders were too busy piecing together their blown minds following the Hurrican Newton bonanza to look for them), but our friend the Maine Little Egret (ABA [read more…]

ABA Area Big Year Update: September, and Everyone Goes to Alaska

For a Big Year birder, 9 months in means that most all of the regularly occurring ABA Area breeding birds have been tallied. September is the beginning of rarity season, which means that any birder with the hopes of a sizeable Big Year list needs to put themselves in position to sweep up as many [read more…]

Open Mic: Dispatches from the NAOC

At the Mic: Terry Rich

From August 16-20, 2016, two thousand ornithological professionals, students, and enthusiasts working across the Western Hemisphere gathered in Washington, D.C. for the largest-ever North American Ornithological Congress (http://naoc2016.cvent.com). This event, held every four years, includes lectures, workshops, roundtable discussions, and interactive sessions and symposia about everything from population and community [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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