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Rare Bird Alert: March 23, 2018

Apologies in advance for the abbreviated nature of this week’s Rare Bird Alert. I’m in Israel with the Subadult wheatears and in the field a great deal of the daylight hours, so I have to put this thing together between bouts of jet leg so it will be a bare bones version. Birds I have missed are no intentional, and links to photos will return next week.

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area this week include the Mistle Thrush in New Brusnwick,  Streak-backed Oriole (ABA Code 4) and Tufted Flycatcher (5) in Arizona, Tamaulipas Crow (4) and Blue Bunting (4) in Texas, Nazca Booby (4) in California and a Barnacle Goose (4) in Ontario.

Reported earlier this week, a Cuban Pewee (5) was apparently photographed in Miami-Dade, though the original observer was not aware of the significance of the find, identifying it as Eastern Wood-Pewee. Unfortunately the bird has not been re-discovered.

Photo: Robyn Meyer/Macaulay Library

No firsts to report this week, but a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Harford, Maryland, is that state’s 8th.

Connecticut’s 8th record of Varied Thrush was found near Simsbury.

A Great Cormorant has returned to the breakwater in Cuyahoga, Ohio, for the third straight year.

In Louisiana, a Curve-billed Thrasher in Baton Rouge is the state’s 5th.

Good for New York, a Mew Gull was in Kings.

Arkansas had a Vermilion Flycatcher in Benton.

In Iowa, a Townsend’s Solitaire was discovered in Crawford.

Good for Tennessee, a Cinnamon Teal was seen in Davidson.

And in Utah, a Harris’s Sparrow was found at Farmington Bay.


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 Podcast: Winter Birding in Review with Mike Hudson & Tom Reed

For birders interested in Status & Distribution, that is the wheres and whys of birding, the ABA’s quarterly journal, North American Birds, has always been a much anticipated part of the ornithological canon. After a year or so in stasis, North American Birds is back under the charge of editors Mike Hudson of Baltimore, Maryland, and Tom Reed of Cape May, New Jersey. The much-anticipated volume 70 came out earlier this year. Mike and Tom join me with me now for what I hope will be a seasonal thing on the podcast, to talk a little about North American Birds but mostly about the winter that just was in birding, covering crossbills, Nazca Boobies, Rufous-backed Robins, Tufted Ducks, and more.

Plus, have you visited a particularly nice airport for birding in your travels? By that I mean, one that isn’t awful? I want to hear about it.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Thanks to Land, Sea, and Sky for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast. Land, Sea, and Sky offers great selection and unparalleled customer service for birders seeking the perfect optics.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!


Where to Watch the Wheatears this Weekend

At the time this post publishes, the ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears are gathering in Eilat, Israel, for the Champions of the Flyway competition.

The first few days will consist of scouting the playing field, getting familiar with the species of the eastern Mediterranean, and fraternizing with fellow competitors from around the world, with the actual competition [read more…]

#ABArare – Cuban Pewee – Florida

On Sunday March 18, 2018, an unknown birder photographed an interesting Contopus flycatcher at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West, Monroe, Florida. The bird has since been identified as a Cuban Pewee, the ABA Area’s 6th record.

Photo: Robyn Meyer/Macaulay Library

Fort Zachary Taylor is a Florida State Park, located at the [read more…]

2018 AOS Classification Committee Proposals, Part 3

This is the third and likely final batch of bird taxonomy proposals submitted to the American Ornithological Society’s North and Middle America Classification Committee, the volunteer group of ornithologists who make the split, lump, and name-change decisions that influence the ABA Checklist and our field guides.

You know the drill by now, that it’s important [read more…]

Blog Birding #357

The origin of American Flamingos in Florida, with its myriad zoos and animal parks, has always been a little bit of a mystery, but as Liz Langley writes in National Geographic, the evidence increasingly suggests that they are naturally occurring.

In the study, published recently in The Condor: Ornithological Applications, the authors pored over historical [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: March 16, 2018

Continuing rarities in the ABA include many of our old friends from the winter, most notably the ABA 1st Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, which is amazingly still hanging around. Both Tamaulipas Crow (ABA Code 4) and Blue Bunting (4) are still being seen in south Texas, with the former being seen at a couple [read more…]

Help the ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears Get Over The Top!

The ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears, competing this year’s Champions of the Flyway event in southern Israel, are very very close to their goal and need your help to get them over the top!

Every dollar raised goes to help BirdLife International put a stop to illegal bird trapping and hunting around the Mediterranean, one of [read more…]

#ABArare – Tufted Flycatcher – Arizona

It was not so long ago that Tufted Flycatcher (ABA Code 4) was among the rarest birds north of the Mexican border, but in recent years it has become annual in Arizona, even attempting to breed. That trend continues in 2018 where Tufted Flycatchers have been reported in the last week at two different sites [read more…]

ICYMI: Open Mic: The Question of East Coast Pelagic Boundaries

When birders and state Bird Records Committees speak of a “state list” or a “first state record” – they are referring to bird species that have been recorded within a state’s official legal boundaries, as determined by U.S. law and court decisions. Whether on land or at sea, the legal borders of a state (or county or city) and its waters *must* be used in determining where a bird record is assigned. Otherwise it’s not truly a “state list” in any real / official capacity. [read more…]

American Birding Podcast
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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