Nikon Monarch 7

aba events

Rare Bird Alert: April 13, 2012

The exceptionally early spring of the past couple weeks seems to have slowed in the last few days, with more seasonal temperature returning to much of the eastern half of the continent at least, according to our friends at eBird.  Early arrivals may only be a week early rather than the fortnight many were showing until recently. 

The vagrant report is picking up slowly, but surely, as well.  As the whole of the continent gets in the fun as birds within and without North America begin moving in earnest.

First, a potential first ABA record was reported from Quebec.  A Common Greenfinch, a species never before recorded as a wild bird in North America, was photographed at a private residence in Matapédia, on the Gaspé peninsula just north of Maine.  All of the usual questions of provenance are in play, obviously, but the location and the time of year may suggest potential wild origin.

Western SpindalisOne of the more exciting confirmed ABA Area rarities of the week came from Florida, with a female Western Spindalis (ABA Code 3) discovered and well-photographed in Fort Lauderdale, Broward.  It was first reported on the 8th of April, but not refound subsequently. 

After a long drought of first stat/provincial records, Pennsylvania comes through this week with their first ever record of Lesser Goldfinch, an individual of the 'black-backed' population that visited a feeder in Franklin for no more than two days before vacating.  Congratulations to those Keystone birders able to see the bird before its hasty retreat.

Elsewhere in the eastern part of the continent, a possible California Gull was reported on Grand Manan, New Brunswick, and a Black Vulture was seen soaring over Tantallon, Nova Scotia.

In Vermont, a Tufted Duck (3) was found in Franklin, and in Rhode Island, a Western Grebe near Narragansett, is one of only a few records for the state.

A trio of White-faced Ibis were well-photographed in Atlantic, New Jersey.

Always good on the eastern half of the continent, a Franklin's Gull was seen on the Potomac with Bonaparte's Gulls in Montgomery, Maryland.

A one day wonder in Georgia was a MacGillivray's Warbler  in Chatham.

A pair of Ruff (3) were well-photographed in Prairie, Arkansas.

In Michigan, a Harris's Sparrow was found in Muskegon.

A Black Vulture, Wisconsin's 8th record, was reported from Portage.

An amazing record from the center of the continent, a Brown Pelican spent a few days this week in Goodhue, Minnesota.  This is the state's 3rd record.

A Glossy Ibis was found in Mills, Iowa.

Another midwest Ruff (3) ws found in Sully, South Dakota.

Glossy Ibis in the west include a bird in Montrose, Colorado, and another in Socorro, New Mexico.

In Arizona, a Red Phalarope is present at Sweetwater Wetlands in Pima.

A couple good Old World species in California in a Ruff (3) in Sonoma and a Tufted Duck (3) in Del Norte.

In British Columbia, a Sage Sparrow was reported in Kelowna, in the interior of the province.


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 <>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

The following two tabs change content below.
Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Muskegon is not just south of the Upper Peninsula, it is just west of Grand Rapids.

  • Thanks, James. It’s been fixed. I got it mixed up with post about a Black Vulture in Emmet County.

  • Skye Haas

    As noted the question of provenance is a perennial concern in discussing birds like Greenfinches and other European finches that pop up in the cagebird trade. To fuel speculation (to whatever direction you like I suppose), I will add that I had a European Greenfinch here in Marquette, Upper Peninsula of Michigan yesterday coming to a nature center feeding station along Lake Superior. Photo here-
    In looking at ebird, it appears there have been two other sightings in the Great Lakes within the last month, 1 near Kenosha, WI on March 11th, and 1 at Montrose, Chicago, IL on March 18th.
    I believe that there are at least 2-3 other Michigan Greenfinch sightings (we also have a couple of Eurasian Siskins, along with many European Goldfinches and a good handful of Chaffinches.

  • From what I gather, european finches reported around the Great Lakes are assumed, fairly or unfairly, to be from escaped populations. And the Quebec bird could be the same, but what makes it interesting is that it was discovered in an area where Euro finches deemed to be wild have been seen in the past.

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.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments




ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

If you live nearby, or are travelling in the area, come visit the ABA Headquarters in Delaware City.

Beginning this spring we will be having bird walks, heron watches and evening cruises, right from our front porch! Click here to view the full calender, and register for events >>

via email

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

  • Open Mic: Rocky Mountain Encounter at Camp Colorado December 9, 2017 5:50
    From American Dippers to White-tailed Ptarmigan to new friends and new birding skills, a young birder shares her experience at 2017 Camp Colorado. […]
  • Open Mic: Endemics, Research, and Adventure on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula December 2, 2017 9:23
    As we flew through a gap in the lush, green mountains to land on a thin airstrip, I anticipated the birding and research I was about to experience on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, the world’s most bio-intense area. […]
  • The Warbler Guide Comes to Android: A Review November 26, 2017 3:08
    Many people would say we are currently in the golden age of bird books. As we learn more and more about birds, and that information becomes more and more accessible, a huge number of bird books have been published. We have whole books dedicated to molt, tricky identifications in the Western Palearctic, the birdlife of […]

Follow ABA on Twitter