aba events
Nikon Monarch 7

    #ABArare - Tropical Mockingbird - Texas

    On Wednesday, April 18, James Clark and Don Jeane discovered an unusual mockingbird near the entrance to Sabine Woods, a property owned and managed by the Texas Ornithological Society in Jefferson County on the Upper Texas Coast.  Photos of the oddity were shared with other birders who confirmed that the bird in question appeared to be a Tropical Mockingbird, Mimus gilvus.  This is a potential first ABA record.

    Tropical Mockingbird - Texas

    Photo by Terry Ferguson

    Tropical Mockingbird is a permanent resident from southern Mexico, including the Yucatan peninsula, throughout Central America into northern Brazil. The species is similar to Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos, but lacks the white patches in the wings and shows significantly less white in a longer tail.  Vocalizations and behavior are often indistinguishable from Northern Mockingbird and in the past the two species have been considered conspecific (Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, Howell and Webb).

    The Sabine Woods property is located two hours east of Houston and just south of Port Arthur.  From Port Arthur, travel south on SH 87.  The property lies four miles west of Sabine Pass on the north side of the road at the western boundary of Texas Point NWR.

    The bird in question has been associating loosely with Northern Mockingbirds near the entrance of Sabine Woods, inside the refuge and to the east of the gate. It was seen as recently as Saturday afternoon.

    Sabine Woods is open to all TOS members and members of other contributing organizations. If you are not a member, TOS asks that you pay a $5 entrance fee to use the property.

    Tropical Mockingbird is a popular cage bird in Mexico, so its provenance will be well-considered.  The location on the Upper Texas Coast, rather than close to the border, may be a point in its favor, however.  Other nonmigratory species that nest on the Yucatan peninsula, notably Greenish Elaenia (High Island, Galveston, May 1984) and Yucatan Vireo (Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston, May 1984), have occured in the area in the past and were deemed by rel event organizations to be natural vagrants.

    The Upper Texas Coast is well-birded this time of year so the bird will undoubtedly be monitored closely.  Steve Mayes (at sgmayes AT hotmail DOT com) of Port Arthur has graciously agreed to act as “keeper of the bird” and to answer specific questions, but for the most up to the minute reports see TexBirds, the Texas state bird listserv.

    UPDATE: The bird is still present as of Sunday (4/22) AM.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
    Nate Swick

    Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

    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.
    Read More »

    Recent Comments

    • Denis Lepage, in How to Record Birdsong—Part 2... { This is very useful Ted, You may already know, but Audacity can export MP3 files, but you have to get download a file and follow... }
    • gwapuffin, in How to Record Birdsong... { Having done some recording I will offer a few notes on using hand held recorders. Do not roll off any sounds during recording, there may... }
    • Nate Dias, in How to Record Birdsong... { Thanks for these posts Ted - getting into sound recording can seem intimidating to a lot of people and you are doing a good job... }
    • Ted Floyd, in How to Record Birdsong—Part 2... { Good points, Wim. A few replies: 1. All things considered, I agree that one oughtn't put "low-quality" recordings on Xeno-Canto. That's what SoundCloud is for...... }
    • Wim van Dam, in How to Record Birdsong—Part 2... { I think that Xeno-Canto already has too many low quality recordings of common species. Recommending people to use it as their personal repository will make... }
    • Older »

    Categories

    Authors

    Archives

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    • Book Review: The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition June 25, 2014 6:30
      In 2000, the birding world greeted the arrival of the revolutionary new Sibley Guide to Birds. Now, 13 years later, we welcome the long awaited updated second edition of our favorite field guide. […]
    • Meet Chloe Walker: 2014 ABA Young Birder of the Year June 17, 2014 8:51
      Although I "officially" started birding when I was eleven, my interest in birds began when I was nine. I remember taking my mom's camera outside and just "playing around" with it. […]
    • Open Mic: Fruits of the Future June 13, 2014 6:56
      It was a winter morning, the cloudy skies blocked out the brilliance of the sun. A chilly wind ran through the treetops like a group of mad, fast-moving invisible Capuchin monkeys. The branches of a nearby tree were shaking uncontrollably and the delicate stems could not support the weight of its leaves and blooming flowers. […]

    Follow ABA on Twitter

    Nature Blog Network