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Rare Bird Alert: January 25, 2019

For the last couple months, this post has led with the Great Black Hawk (ABA Code 5) in Maine, and this week looks like it will be the last for that bird. Despite looking fairly comfortable in its Portland park, the bird was taken in by rehabbers this past week after it was found on the ground. Evidently it was suffering from some frostbite on its toes, no doubt an ailment never experienced before by a Great Black Hawk. The bird is currently being held at a facility and is recovering well after having part of a toe removed. Its future is yet to be determined.

Other noteworthy ABA Area birds include the Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in California and the White-throated Thrush (4) in Arizona. The Colorado Pink-footed Goose (4), as is a Barnacle Goose (4) in New York. A Fieldfare (4) continues to be seen in British Columbia, as does a Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in Texas.

It’s turning out to be a good winter for vagrant thrushes in the ABA Area, with individuals coming both from the south and from the east. From British Columbia comes the latter, a Dusky Thrush (4) in Nanaimo. This is the province’s 3rd record of this species.

We had a couple 1st records to report in what was, generally speaking, a fairly light rarity week. In Tennessee, a Virginia’s Warbler in Sullivan is a 1st state record for a species that has a recent pattern of vagrancy in the eastern part of the continent.

And a potential 1st in Texas, where a Yellow Grosbeak (4) visiting a feeder in Cancon would be a 1st record should it be determined to be a natural vagrant. The species is a popular one in the cage bird trade. Less questionable, though, was a Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) at Quinta Mazatlan in Hidalgo. 

In Michigan, a Spotted Towhee visiting a feeder in Houghton is a nice bird for the state.

Newfoundland had a Slaty-backed Gull (3) at the gull factory that is Quiri Vidi Lake in St. John’s .

And Nova Scotia also had a Slaty-backed Gull this week, at Cape Sable Island.


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.