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Rare Bird Alert: March 9, 2018

The holding pattern we’d been in with regard to unusual vagrants seems to be breaking a little as spring moves along. The southern tier of the ABA Area is seeing the return of early migrants like Purple Martins and Osprey, moving northwards little by little every day. There are still some continuing rarities that are not moving much, including the ABA 1st Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, well into its fourth month in Miramichi. The male Blue Bunting (ABA Code 4) is still in south Texas, and looking sharper every week. After a couple weeks of no reports (at least to eBird), the Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Tucson, Arizona, was noted again. Just to the south, the Sinaloa Wren (5) continues. In California, the Black-tailed Gull (4), a couple Nazca Boobies (4), and the Garganey (4) are all staying put. And a Pink-footed Goose (4) continues in New York.

One of the less common western vagrants to the east, a Lark Bunting was discovered in Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, which has to go down as one of the most productive urban birding sites in the ABA Area.

One of the stranger reports from the period came from Alabama, and no, it wasn’t a yellow cardinal. A Greater Roadrunner was photographed in Shelby, which would represent a 1st record for the state as well as, maybe more notably, a 1st record east of the Mississippi River. There are obviously questions about how a bird that doesn’t fly much crossed such an imposing physical barrier, but it’s worth noting that roadrunners have greatly expanded their range eastward in recent years, with records in Arkansas, at least, within sight of the river.

Perhaps interesting in light of the previous record, a White-tailed Kite was seen in Benton, Mississippi, last week.

A third southwestern species in the southeast, a Sage Thrasher was discovered in Calcasieu, Louisiana.

Missouri’s 5th record of Golden-crowned Sparrow was found in Carroll.

Rhode Island had a Tufted Duck (3) in Newport.

A single goose flock in Rouville, Quebec, boasted both a Barnacle Goose (4), and a Pink-footed Goose (4).

Always nice in the interior west, a Eurasian Wigeon was photographed in Ada, Idaho.

Oregon had a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Columbia.

And Arizona’s 3rd record of Carolina Wren was found at Patagonia State Park in Santa Cruz.


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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