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Where are the Chestnut-collared Longspurs?

Early spring is arguably the best time of the year to see the ABA’s 2016 Bird of the Year, Chestnut-collared Longspur. This is particularly true if you enjoy the spectacle of hundreds of the birds gathered together, as is occasionally the case in March and April in eastern Colorado. The short-grass prairies in Colorado and Kansas are where the birds are staging these days, moving northward towards breeding grounds in the northern Great Plains, places like the Dakotas, southern Saskatchewan, and eastern Montana.

We chose Chestnut-collared Longspur as our Bird of Year for 2016 partly because it was such an iconic bird of these places that too few birders get to visit. But here’s a a reminder that right now is probably the most accommodating time for these wonderful birds. Traditionally birders have visited the prairies this time of year in search of bizarre and fantastic grouse displays, but keep an eye out for longspurs, too!

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.58.55 AM

eBird shows that the last 30 days have been good for Chestnut-collared Longspurs in eastern Colorado ans western Kansas.  Scattered birds linger in their wintering grounds, as well, and few early arrivals are showing up on territory already.

Have you been seeing Chestnut-collared Longspurs this year? Let us know in the comments!

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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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