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#ABArare – Fieldfare – Montana

Sometimes Eurasian vagrants show up in places you expect, the corners of the continent like Alaska, British Columbia, or Newfoundland. And sometimes they absolutely do not. This is a case of the second.

On December 19, during the Missoula, Montana CBC, Jim Brown discovered a stunning Fieldfare (ABA Code 4) just west of town. Pending acceptance this is a 1st record for Montana, and one of only a very small handful of records of this Asian thrush away from places like Alaska and Maritime Canada.


Photo by Alex Hughes.

According to observers today, the bird is being seen on and off on La Voie Lane, off of Mullen Rd just west of Missoula. It comes to berry trees in a yard with a yellowish trailer on the east side of La Voie, and frequently flies back into the cottonwoods along the Clark Fork on the west side of La Voie, where it is on private property and inaccessible. Regular updates from birders on the scene can be found on the Montana-Birds listserv.

Fieldfare is a nomadic Turdus thrush of northern Europe and Asia. They are regular winter visitors to Iceland, and as such the majority of records for the ABA Area come from Atlantic Canada. They can also come from the other direction, however, and there are also four accounts of Fieldfare in Alaska and one in British Columbia.

While this Montana bird is exceptional, it’s not the first time the species has turned up in the middle of the continent, A record from Minnesota in 1991 illustrates the ability of this species to wander quite widely.

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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.
Nate Swick

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  • Andrew Keaveney

    This comes on the footsteps of a Redwing in Capital, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

    • Yes! Another great bird. I’m trying to get some photo permissions so I can write something up about it, too.

      • Andrew Keaveney

        Do you need photo permissions when the photos are on eBird? I’m curious about that… thought there might be some clause whereby anything submitted is fair game.

        • That’s a good question and one I don’t know the answer to. I know photos shared in eBird checklists are under a Macauley Library copyright, but I don’t know what that means in terms of using them on a non-profit’s blog or something.

          I may message the eBird guys for some clarification.

          • Jim Greaves

            I would suggest further that anyone who submits a photo place a copyright notice on it – sometimes there may be payment involved for publishing such rarities, even if only in a local newspaper. The photographers deserve credit at least – and payment if there is any. “Fair Use” for non-profit “publication” does NOT mean one should not seek permission of the owner; my understanding is “fair use for non-profit purposes” means for illustration or education. But, the photographer should be asked first, if at all possible.

          • Yes, I agree. And that’s my MO when seeking images out for these posts, which is why it occasionally takes a little time for me to get them published.

  • Pingback: Rare Bird Alert: December 25, 2015 « ABA Blog()

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