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Rare Bird Alert: February 3, 2017

Some weeks are slower than others, and we seem now to be in a bit of a late winter doldrums with regard to rarities. Nonetheless, a number of ABA Area rarities hold on into February. The young Ross’s Gull (ABA Code 3) in New York has been seen by many. In Texas, a Golden-crowned Warbler (4) and a Rose-throated Becard (3) remain. Florida hosts both a Bananaquit (4) and at least one Western Spindalis (3). The interesting Greylag Goose continues in Rhode Island. Arizona has continuing Rose-throated Becard (3), Streak-backed Oriole (4) and Nutting’s Flycatcher (3), and a Brambling (3) has been hit and miss in Oregon. Pink-footed Geese (4) continue to be seen in several places in the northeast, with two in British Columbia.

The Great White Pelican that visited “Ding” Darling NWR in Lee, Florida, almost exactly one year ago appears to have returned. Currently, the Florida Ornithological Records Committee has not made a decision on the bird, tabling it until more information is available. It’s unclear whether the bird’s return is means anything one way or the other about its provenance. All I know is that I do not envy the committee for the decision on this one.

A Great White Pelican, likely the same bird as photographed here in 2016, has returned to “Ding” Darling NWR in southeast Florida. Photo: Michael Schall/Macaulay Library

A Boreal Owl  was discovered in Essex, Massachusetts, during the annual Super Bowl of Birding competition. With one discovered, there are almost certainly more of this secretive species in the region.

Pennsylvania’s 2nd record of Slaty-backed Gull was discovered in Erie.

New Jersey had a Pink-footed Goose in Cape May, the first record for that well-birded county.

And in Georgia, a Ruff was found in Glynn.


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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