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Rare Bird Alert: April 24, 2015

This time of year is hard for rarity hunters, and even moreso for hunters of rarity records. Listservs are filling up with reports of expected but long-anticipated first of year reports, which makes parsing through them a little more difficult. What I mean to say is that if I accidentally left off a bird in your home state or province please let me know, or leave it in the comments.

One first record this week, and it’s a bit of a doozy. Chandler Hunts found a Burrowing Owl at Bombay Hook near Smyrna, Delaware. There are a handful or records of the species along the east coast as far north as Atlantic Canada, seemingly evenly mixed between Florida and western birds, but none in recent years. A few birders got out to see it before dark, but it was not seen again after that first day.

Delaware's first Burrowing Owl, photo by Chandler Wiegand, used with permission

Delaware’s first Burrowing Owl, photo by Chandler Wiegand, used with permission

In New York, a Western Tanager in Nassau is good, but even more interesting is a Neotropic Cormorant seen in Chatauqua, potentially the state’s 2nd.

In Connecticut, at least two Thayer’s Gulls have been seen near West Haven.

It’s been a great spring for Swallow-tailed Kites in New England, and another one was found at Hope Valley, Rhode Island.

In Maine and overshot Prothonotary Warbler was on Monhegan Island.

Noteworthy for Nova Scotia was a Field Sparrow in Shelburne.

In Quebec, a pair of Barnacle Geese (ABA Code 4) were photographed at Montérégie.

Great for Ohio was a female Ruff (3) in Trumbell.

In Kentucky, a Black-bellied Whistling Duck was found near Richmond, perhaps a sign of another summer movement of that species.

In Minnesota, a Eurasian Wigeon, always notable in the continent’s interior, was in Kittson.

Good birds for Colorado include a Western Gull in Morgan and a Painted Redstart in Montrose.

Nevada also had a Painted Redstart in Clark, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Wells, and a White-tailed Kite in Washoe.

In California, a pair of Common Black-Hawks were seen in Riverside.

A Hermit Warbler was found in South Vancouver Island, British Columbia, this week.

An interesting bird regardless of origin, a California Condor from the Utah population was tracked by its receiver as it crossed Montezuma, Colorado, into San Juan, New Mexico, this week.

In Arizona, an Eared Quetzal (4) was briefly seen (as is typical for this secretive bird) in Santa Cruz, and at least two Broad-winged Hawks were seen in the state, in both Maricopa and Pima.

A Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) made an appearance in Nueces, Texas.

In Louisiana, both a Gray Kingbird and a Black-whiskered Vireo were found in Plaquemines/

And last but certainly not least, the rarity season in south Florida is heating up, with a heard-only Cuban Pewee (5) frustratingly avoiding birders near Key Largo, and Black Noddy (3) and Red-footed Booby (3) on the Dry Tortugas.


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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