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Rare Bird Alert: February 14, 2014

Another week, another massive winter weather system crashing into the east coast. And another relatively slow week for ABA Area vagrants. Heavy precipitation probably kept a number of birders off the roads and out the field this past week, at least in the east. Despite a little bit of rain, the west still continues to be mired in a difficult drought.

One of the more interesting records of the week had to be a Slaty-backed Gull (ABA Code 3) in Laredo, Texas. It’s that state’s 7th record. Once a mega rarity outside of Alaska, the species is showing up in ever increasing numbers across the west and into the Great Lakes.

This Slaty-backed Gull in Laredo, Tx, is the second for the state, photo by Dan Jones

This Slaty-backed Gull in Laredo, Tx, is the seventh for the state, photo by Dan Jones

Also in Texas, a Brown Booby (3) was photographed onshore near Portland, and two Black-legged Kittiwakes, in Smith and at Port Aransas, to add to one seen last week.

In Oklahoma, a Barrow’s Goldeneye was found on a lake in Tulsa.

Arkansas had a Spotted Towhee visiting a feeder for much of the week in Union.

Good birds in Louisiana include a Western Tanager in New Orleans and a Ferruginous Hawk in Cameron
, originally reported at the beginning of the month but found again this week.

In case you though the SNOW records were petering out, a Snowy Owl in Issaquena, Mississippi, will make you stand up and take notice. It’s the state’s 2nd record, with the first coming in the 1930s.

In Florida, Black-headed Gull in Putnam is noteworthy, and a pair of Buff-bellied Hummingbirds  are present in the state, in Leon and Franklin.

North Carolina’s 4th record of Trumpeter Swan was a bird among the thousands of Tundra Swans in Washington.

Missed last week, a pair of Iceland Gulls, one in Wetzel and one in Mason, West Virginia, are the 2nd and 3rd records for that state.

Western Tanagers continue to show up in good numbers in the east this winter, and one was in Richmond, Virginia.

In New York, a Pink-footed Goose (4) was notable but practically expected anymore in Suffolk.

Shooting across the continent, a King Eider in Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, is the third on the west coast this year after a bird in northern California and a long-staying one in Oregon.

And birders enjoying that California King Eider also got to enjoy a white-phase Gyrfalcon in Humboldt.

Good for Arizona, a White Ibis was seen in Yuma.


Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT 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 <>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

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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.
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