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Rare Bird Alert: February 10, 2017

Things pick up a little this week in the ABA Area. Unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, questions of provenance have not deterred birders still coming in droves to see the Black-backed Oriole in Pennsylvania, which has shown every day since its presence was announced. Rose-throated Becard (ABA Code 3) and Golden-crowned Warbler (4) continue in Texas and Florida still hosts at least one Western Spindalis (3) and the very cooperative Bananaquit (4). In Arizona, the Streak-backed Oriole (4) is still being seen, and the Oregon Brambling (3) has also been reported this week. The young Ross’s Gull (3) in upstate New York was present through at least the middle of last week, but has been absent of late. And Pink-footed Geese (4) are still prevalent in the northeast, along with smaller numbers of Barnacle Geese (4).

Nothing like an Alaskan goodie in the Lower 48 to get birders excited. California boasted just that in a White Wagtail in Orange this week, of the eastern Russian breeding ocularis subspecies.

Photo: Mike Huang/Macaulay Library (S34234243)

A most unexpected find came from Virginia, where an Ancient Murrelet was picked out from a mass of moving alcids in Virginia Beach. This would be a 1st record for Virginia, and one of only a small handful of records in the Atlantic Ocean.

In Louisiana, a Couch’s Kingbird was found among Western Kingbirds in St. Tammany.

Massachusetts had a Painted Bunting in Barnstable.

The third Ross’s Gull (3) of the year in the Lower 48 came from Rhode Island, an adult in Washington.

Maine had a Mew Gull in Knox.

In New Brunswick, a Townsend’s Solitaire was seen in Riverview, though it is no longer publicly viewable.

A pair of White-tailed Kites were a very nice find in Harmon, Oklahoma.

Utah had a Great Gray Owl in Morgan, the second there this year.

In Oregon, a young King Eider was photographed in Coos.

And in British Columbia, an adult  Slaty-backed Gull (3) was found in Nanaimo.


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.
Nate Swick

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