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#ABArare – Blue Bunting – Texas

2015 is off to a good start with a number of great birds found in the first few days or lingering in to the new year. The most recent of which is a female ABA Code 4 Blue Bunting, found by Dan Jones at Santa Ana NWR in Hidalgo Co, Texas.


Photo by Dan Jones, used with permission

Santa Ana NWR is 7 miles south of Alamo, Texas. The entrance is located ¼ mile east of F.M. 907 (Alamo Road) on the south side of Highway 281. Jones reports that to find the bird go on the tour road past the tree tower, then past a fenced in irrigation pump. Then go about 100 yards south in the vicinity of the second electric box.

Blue Bunting is known in the ABA Area from a number of records, the vast majority of which are from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and the most recent of which was in 2012. Notably, the first ABA Area record was from Louisiana in 1979, which remains the only ABA record of the species away from Texas.

Howell, et al, in Rare Birds of North America notes that occurrence of Blue Bunting north of Mexico is sporadic with occasional invasions, likely reflecting food shortages in northeast Mexico.

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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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