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#ABArare – Little Bunting – California

Keith Slauson found a Little Bunting (Code 4) late on December 12 in McKinleyville, CA. Light was poor at the time, so he was unsure of the identification. He and other birders returned to the site the next morning and confirmed that it was in fact a Little Bunting. This is the fourth record for California and fifth for the Lower 48.

Little Bunting

Photo by Rob Fowler.

The bunting was found along Fischer Road on the southwest side of McKinleyville, just north of the Hammond Bridge over the Mad River (map here). To get there, take the School Road exit off of Hwy 101 in McKinleyville and go west. Turn left on Fischer Road. this is a T-intersection. Go south about 0.5-miles. The bunting has been associating with Savannah and White-crowned sparrows near the first utility pole north of the Hammond Bridge. Do not park along Fischer Road. There are several pull-outs here, two north of the bridge and one south, where you can park.

Slauson reports that the bird is often easiest to find by call, giving a short “tsik” that’s noticeably different than the sparrow calls. It was spending a lot of time foraging on the ground and sometimes perches in thistle plants. It has been seen on both sides of Fischer Road.

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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
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