aba events

Highlights from 2015 Camp Colorado: A Photo-Video Essay

I got to spend July 6-12, 2015 in the field in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with twenty-two young… [read more]

Highlights from 2015 Camp Colorado: A Photo-Video Essay Highlights from 2015 Camp Colorado: A Photo-Video Essay

ABA Checklist Committee Adds Rufous-necked Wood-Rail to ABA Checklist

The ABA Checklist Committee (hereafter, CLC) recently voted 8–0 to accept the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail… [read more]

ABA Checklist Committee Adds Rufous-necked Wood-Rail to ABA Checklist ABA Checklist Committee Adds Rufous-necked Wood-Rail to ABA Checklist

New Mexico’s Dale Zimmerman receives ABA Ludlow Griscom Award

Dale Zimmerman of Silver City, New Mexico, one of his state’s best known and admired biologists and… [read more]

New Mexico’s Dale Zimmerman receives ABA Ludlow Griscom Award New Mexico’s Dale Zimmerman receives ABA Ludlow Griscom Award

Photo Quiz, sort of: April 2015 Birding

First things first. The April 2015 Birding has gone to press, and members will be getting their copies… [read more]

Photo Quiz, sort of: April 2015 Birding Photo Quiz, sort of: April 2015 Birding

Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards

The ABA Board of Directors recently voted to make five presentations of ABA Awards in 2015. The awardees… [read more]

Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards

Announcing the 2015 ABA Bird of the Year! / ¡Presentando al ABA Ave del Año del 2015!

We bid a fond farewell to our friend the Rufous Hummingbird, and turn our eyes towards 2015's standard… [read more]

Announcing the 2015 ABA Bird of the Year! / ¡Presentando al ABA Ave del Año del 2015! Announcing the 2015 ABA Bird of the Year! / ¡Presentando al ABA Ave del Año del 2015!
Nikon Monarch 7

Rare Bird Alert: July 31, 2015

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Summer birding is truly a strange time in North America. The weather is uncomfortable, the bugs are out, the birds are ratty and everyone is chomping at the bit for shorebird season to heat up. But still, late July can offer some surprises for those willing to brave the elements, often in the form of post-breeding dispersal and the early stages of fall migration.

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area are concentrated around the southern tier, with the Collared Plover (ABA Code 5) hanging on in Hidalgo, Texas, and the Tufted Flycatcher (5) and at least 2 Plain-capped Starthroats in Cochise, Arizona.

One of the more interesting minor movements of the week involves Limpkin, a species most associated with south Florida marshes. They’ve been steadily marching north over the last several years, however, increasingly turning up in Georgia, as 2 did this week in Crisp County, with an outlier in Catawba County, North Carolina, that state’s 5th record  and the first away from the coastal plain.

This Limpkin in Catawba Co, NC, is notable not only for being the first in the state in nearly 20 years, but the third farthest north record ever of this subtropical species. Photo by Lori Owenby

This Limpkin in Catawba Co, NC, is notable not only for being the first in the state in nearly 20 years, but the third farthest north record ever of this subtropical species. Photo by Lori Owenby

Also notable for North Carolina, a Brown Booby (3) was photographed off Hatteras.

In Maine, the annual Red-billed Tropicbird (3) at Machias Seal Island has returned for an astounding 11th year.

Nova Scotia had a Crested Caracara, found at Dutch Settlement.

A Western Grebe in Dane, Wisconsin, is a noteable bird for that state

Nebraska’s 2nd record of Couch’s Kingbird was photographed in Douglas.

In Colorado, at least two Baird’s Sparrows were discovered singing in Larimer.

A Hooded Oriole was found in Somers, Montana.

Alberta’s 3rd record of Golden-winged Warbler was discovered in a park in Calgary.

As reported by our own Lynn Barber earlier this week, a Eurasian Collared-Dove in Anchorage is a great bird for Alaska.

In Oregon, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo was found in Portland.

Signs of an El Nino year in California keep coming, the latest being a Magnificent Frigatebird in Santa Barbara.

And in Texas, both a White-eared Hummingbird (3) and a Greater Pewee were found in the Davis Mountains.

–=====–

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.

 

 

Confirmation of a New Nesting Site for Black-capped Petrel

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For pelagic birders on the east coast, it doesn’t get much better than a Black-capped Petrel in a breeze. Like all Pterodromas, they cruise on the wind like a fine Italian sportscar on a mountain road, effortlessly and with breathtaking abandon. For decades the only known nest sites of this charismatic seabird were in patches of high mountain forest on the island of Hispaniola – including some of the last remaining patches of native forest in Haiti – where rampant destruction of natural resources continue to make their long-term survival uncertain.

A Black-capped Petrel in North Carolina's Gulf Stream, photo by George Armistead from the ABA's Seabirding IFO

A Black-capped Petrel in North Carolina’s Gulf Stream, photo by George Armistead from the ABA’s Seabirding IFO

But a re-discovery on the tiny island of Dominica not only offers a huge ray of hope to a beleaguered population, but is also a statement about that nation’s established environmental movement, and the success that is within the reach of other Caribbean nations. The Black-capped Petrel is once again confirmed to nest there, for the first time since 1862.

From a report at the Caribbean News Service:

Adam Brown, Co-founder and Lead Scientist at EPIC states, “Finding this colony of petrels on Dominica is a real game-changer for Black-capped Petrel conservation. For years we thought the only remaining colonies of petrels were on Hispaniola, where nesting habitat is diminishing at an alarming rate and pressures of human activity are significant. Dominica is an island-nation where nature conservation is a high priority and forests needed by petrels are well protected, so we now have a huge new opportunity to undertake conservation efforts to preserve this imperiled species.”

The searchers found 968 birds, a remarkable percentage of the population of a species that is estimated to number only around 5000. In addition to Dominica, it’s been long suspected that the species also nests in southeastern Cuba and Jamaica, but as yet, that is not confirmed.

Not only is this a fantastic conservation story, but there’s an interesting taxonomic angle as well. Birders in the Gulf Stream have long noted that Black-capped Petrels come in two varieties, “light-faced” and “dark-faced”. These two forms not only look different, but they have different molt timing and, as a study using museum specimens published in 2013 found, significant genetic distance as well. Known breeding populations on Hispaniola consist of dark-faced birds so the breeding grounds of the light individuals was long suspected to be Dominica.

More study is certainly needed, but the confirmation of a Dominican population matching the description of “light-faced” birds is certainly a huge piece of the puzzle. Exciting stuff, but seabirds never lack the capacity to amaze.

The How and Why of Urban Cooper’s Hawks

It sounds strange to say that Cooper’s Hawks were once relatively unusual in urban and suburban settings. The dashing raptors are ubiquitous now, even in the most developed landscapes, and this population boom is certainly inverse to the fairings of so many other North American native birds. Why, then, does this species thrive in places [read more…]

Considering Killdeers and Collared Doves

Recently I have spent time searching for a Killdeer and a Eurasian Collared-Dove. This may sound weird to most lower-48 birders.

A couple of days ago I finally saw my first Killdeer in Alaska. When I was a child in Wisconsin, Killdeers were common, as they are in many places, and I saw them often, [read more…]

Blog Birding #236

At The Eyrie, Steve N.G. Howell starts what looks to be a great series on the how and why of a field notebook.

Young birders (YBs) are sponges that absorb all sorts of information, ask questions, and never seem to tire out – although they can certainly exhaust the adults who work with them! I’ve [read more…]

Island Birds and Dark Plumage, Unknown Links Revealed

Birders who have traveled to the islands of the Caribbean and the Galapagos in the New World are likely aware that some of the endemic species there, namely bullfinches and the famous “Galapagos” finches, are a decidedly dusky hue compared to birds on the mainland. This characteristic bears out in a number of island specific [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: July 24, 2015

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area include a handful of bird in southeast Arizona. The Flame-colored Tanagers (ABA Code 4) and Tufted Flycatchers (5) are still hanging tight at Ramsey Canyon, even if finding them is more difficult now. A Plain-capped Starthroat (4) continues in the Chiricahuas as well.

The Little Egret (4) tally has [read more…]

The ABA Needs Your NWR Birding Photos!

Do you have a photo or photograph of birds and/or birders on National Wildlife Refuges that you would be willing to share? We need them for a display at the National Wildlife Refuge Expo, to be held in Washington, DC, on July 28. The photos will run on a looping PowerPoint that people may view [read more…]

#ABArare – Collared Plover – Texas

Here we go again. On July 21, Pat Heirs found an ABA Code 5 Collared Plover at Hargill Playa in Hidalgo County, Texas. This would be the 3rd record for the ABA Area. Remarkably, this is precisely the same spot that the ABA Area’s 2nd record Collared Plover was found 11 months and 3 weeks [read more…]

The Illiterate Birder

Yikes, that ain’t English! And what on earth is that strange reptilian creature on the cover?

It’s easy sometimes for us Americans to forget that there is a whole vast birding literature out there that is not published in the US or the UK. On those rare occasions when we are reminded, it’s often by [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.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
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Recent Comments

  • Steve Arena, in The ABA Needs Your NWR Birding Photos!... { Female Least Bittern wing flicking while hunting; https://www.flickr.com/photos/pokedaddy/19421400216/in/photostream/ Photographed 05 July 2015, GMNWR, Concord Impoundments, Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Male Least Bittern in flight https://www.flickr.com/photos/pokedaddy/18801591562/in/album-72157629831020551/... }
  • Amy K, in Rare Bird Alert: July 24, 2015... { Just one BBWD in Indiana, not a pair }
  • Nathan Hentze, in The How and Why of Urban Cooper's Hawks... { A different look at urban Cooper's Hawks, this time in Vancouver BC and focusing on toxicology, found what is being touted as the most polluted... }
  • Rick Wright, in The How and Why of Urban Cooper's Hawks... { I'll be interested to see how the results complement and compare with this 12-year study conducted in urban Tucson: http://ag.arizona.edu/~steidl/files/pdfs/Mannan%20et%20al.%202008%20Urban%20Ecosystems.pdf }
  • Lynn, in Considering Killdeers and Collared Doves... { Just now - a Rufous Hummingbird at my flowers on my Anchorage porch! A non-rare rarity, I guess. }
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  • What exactly is a field notebook? Part 5 of 5. July 30, 2015 5:14
    Recognizing that there are no such things as right and wrong, here are some thoughts for what you might include in your field journal (and field notebook!). But remember, it’s your field journal so you can do what you want. […]
  • What exactly is a field notebook? Part 4 of 5. July 29, 2015 3:51
    Fact: Careful observations and sketches help you really learn birds. […]
  • What exactly is a field notebook? Part 3 of 5. July 28, 2015 3:44
    It’s all very well showing some of my notes from recent years (Part 2), when I’m an experienced birder, but what did my notes look like when I was a teenager? It’s pretty clear, however, that I wouldn’t have come close to winning any Young Birder of the Year field notebook competition! […]

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