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Rare Bird Alert: April 21, 2017

Spring moves on and the remaining ABA rarites of winter have mostly moved on. Arizona is still hosting a Streak-backed Oriole (ABA Code 4) – can we call it resident by this point? – as well as the multiple Tufted Flycatchers (5) that seem to have settled in for the season. The British Columbia Redwing (4) is still singing in Victoria, and a number of Barnacle Geese (4) and Pink-footed Geese (4) are hanging around.

We begin in Maine, which has been a magnet for rare birds in the last week. The state’s 1st record of Vermilion Flycatcher, a sharp near-adult male, was seen on Hog Island, and first noted when it turned up on a live-cam for a resident Osprey nest in what must be one of the most serendipitous discoveries of a local rarity in memory. And if that was not enough, a Fieldfare (4) was discovered among a flock of American Robins in Lincoln, also furnishing a 1st record for the state.

The capper on an incredible week for Maine birders, a Fieldfare was discovered in Lincoln County. Photo: Jeff Cherry/Macaulay Library (S36089231)

And that’s not all. There were at least two more 1sts for the period, though not the bounty that Maine enjoyed. In Indiana, a Golden-crowned Sparrow at a feeder in Marion is a 1st, amazingly showing up a brand-new feeder that had been set up only 2 hours earlier,

And in Iowa, a stunning White-tailed Kite near the border of Howard/Winneshiek represents a 1st for that state.

Up to Minnesota, where another Golden-crowned Sparrow  in the Midwest was seen in Minneapolis.

Increasing in many places across the ABA Area, but still notable in the northern Great Plains, a pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks  were discovered in Saunders, Nebraska.

In Colorado, a Crested Caracara was noteworthy in Weld.

We don’t often mention Wyoming in this space, but a Lesser Black-backed Gull near Casper is a nice bird for the state.

Alberta had a Common Crane (4) among migrating Sandhills in Hanna.

Good for British Columbia was a Red-shouldered Hawk near Metchosin.

Hopefully a harbinger of a good spring vagrant season in Alaska, a Eurasian Bullfinch (4) was seen on Unalaska. On the mainland, an Emperor Goose in Anchorage was a nice find of this bird more typically seen in far west of the state.

Michigan had a Eurasian Tree Sparrow at Whitefish Point this week.

In Ohio, a Tricolored Heron was a great bird from Lorain.

In Quebec, a nice-looking Black-tailed Godwit (3) was found in Pierre-De Saurel.

Spring is a good time for over-shooting Iceland breeding Black-tailed Godwits in eastern Canada Photo: Daniel Jauvin/Macaulay Library (S35934497)

In Nova Scotia it’s another week, another overshooting Prothonotary Warbler, this one in Pubnico.

Connecticut had a White-faced Ibis in Westbrook.

In New York, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was noteworthy, in Kings.

New Jersey had an Anhinga, seen in Monmouth.

The second Ruff (3) in as many weeks in Delaware was seen in New Castle.

Increasingly annual in the state, a single Black-bellied Whistling Duck was seen by many in Alamance, North Carolina.

And in Florida, a Western Spindalis (3) was seen in Miami-Dade.


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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  • Tony Leukering

    It was Colorado’s 4th Crested Caracara, with only the third bird being chaseable.

    • Tony Leukering

      That is, only the bird of the third record being seen by those not finding the beast.

  • Josh Cantor

    NY also had a Ruff in Suffolk county that was a one day wonder

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