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Rare Bird Alert: February 17, 2017

Continuing rare birds in the ABA Area should all be familiar to those who read these posts regularly. The Pennsylvania Black-backed Oriole continues to be seen into this week. Rose-throated Becard (ABA Code 3) and Golden-crowned Warbler are still in Texas. The Yellow-legged Gull (4) in Newfoundland was seen again this week by many, as was the continuing Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Arizona. In Oregon, the Brambling (3) can still be found with a little effort. And the Bananaquit (4) and at least 2 Western Spindalis (3) continue in Florida. As is typical this time of year, there are a number of Pink-footed Geese (4) and Barnacle Geese (4) scattered throughout the northeast.

For the second straight year, a Redwing (4) was discovered in Victoria, British Columbia. THis bird turned up this week at the exact spot where one spent several months in 2015-2016, and where one was seen briefly in 2013. This represents the 3rd record for the province, though there is suspicion that this is the same bird returning for a second year, and is perhaps the same bird from 2013.

Photo: Gordon Hart

One 1st record to report this week, and it was a doozy. In Colleton, South Carolina, a Great Kiskadee was discovered by a photographer, and has been present for many birders well into the week. This is the farthest east in the ABA Area that this species has been seen before, but a pair of them spent several weeks in South Dakota in the winter of 2015-2016.

Staying in the theme of extralimital birds from the south-central part of the ABA Area, a Crested Caracara was photographed in Delta, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula.

Wisconsin had a Slaty-backed Gull (3) in Milwaukee.

Good for Nevada was a Eurasian Wigeon in Pahrump, Nye.

As this post was being assembled, a report came of a Fork-tailed Flycatcher  (3) in Texas City, Texas.

In Illinois, a Gyrfalcon was seen in McLean.

Noteworthy for Nova Scotia was a Townsend’s Solitaire at Charlos Cove.

In New York, a Great Gray Owl was seen in St. Lawrence.

A surprising find in the winter, a Magnificent Frigatebird was photographed at Back Bay NWR, Virginia Beach,Virginia, not far from where the massive alcid flock produced an Ancient Murrelet a few days prior, making for what is perhaps one of the strangest birding weeks anywhere.

Florida had a Kirtland’s Warbler in Miami-Dade, this is the 1st record for the county, and likely the first winter record for the United States of the endangered warbler.


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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