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Rare Bird Alert: March 10, 2017

Our impressive and diverse collection of continuing rarities in the ABA Area is starting to thin out as the spring comes on. Notables seen into this week include the Black-backed Oriole in Pennsylvania, Rose-throated Becard (ABA Code 3) in Texas, and the very long staying  Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Arizona. In Newfoundland, the Yellow-legged Gull (4) continues, as does the Redwing (4) in British Columbia. Florida is still hosting a Western Spindalis (3), and a number of Pink-footed Geese (4) and Barnacle Geese (4) are still scattered throughout the northeast.

A Hawfinch (4) coming to a feeder in Anchorage, Alaska, is the easy highlight of the week. This impressive finch is not regular anywhere in the ABA Area, and when it does occur it is primarily seen on the Bering Sea Islands or the Aleutians. This represents only the 2nd record on the mainland.

The Hawfinch visiting a feeder in Anchorage, Alaska, is only the 2nd mainland record for the species. Photo; Keith Confer/Macaulay Library


We have one 1st record to report this week, a nice male Cinnamon Teal discovered in Mason, West Virginia,
an exceptional find for a land-locked, mostly mountainous, state.

Elsewhere, a Tufted Duck (3) in Cape May, New Jersey is the farthest south this species has been seen this year on the east coast.

In Massachusetts, a Great Gray Owl was photographed, but unfortunately not refound, in Hampshire, one of a run of sightings of this big boreal owl in the northeast this winter.

Good for Connecticut, a Ross’s Goose was found near Westport.

In Maryland, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was especially cooperative in Ocean City.

A Bananaquit (4) in Broward, Florida, just yesterday is the second already this year down there.

In New Mexico, a Crested Caracara was noteworthy in Hidalgo.

And good for California, a Grasshopper Sparrow  was seen in San Francisco.


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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