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Rare Bird Alert: January 4, 2019

Rarities continuing into the first part of the year include the amazing Great Black Hawk (ABA Code 5) in Maine, the Pink-footed Goose (4) in Colorado, and the Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in Texas. British Columbia continues to host the Fieldfare (4) and the Long-legged Buzzard (no code) is apparently still hanging on into the Alaska winter. In California, a Red-footed Booby (4) is still easy to find and the Barnacle Goose (4) is still in Pennsylvania.

Rufous-backed Robin (3) is always nice to see in the ABA Area, even though it’s become more common in recent years. They’re still unusual enough in Texas, though, and one was in Uvalde this week. Texas also had yet another Fork-tailed Flycatcher, this time in Van Zandt. 

We had one 1st record to report this week, in Montana where a Heermann’s Gull at Fort Peck represents one of only very few records of this increasingly uncommon gull in the continent’s interior. That wasn’t the only Pacific Ocean species to be seen in Montana recently, an Ancient Murrelet, the state’s 12th record, was found after it hit a window in St. Ignatius.

Noteworthy for Washington was a Laysan Albatross (3) was seen from shore in Kitsap. 

Oregon had a Harris’s Sparrow, found on a CBC in Wahkiakum.

California’s second Slaty-backed Gull (3) in as many weeks was seen in Monterey. 

In Minnesota, a female-type King Eider was found in Duluth. 

Michigan’s 3rd record of Black-headed Grosbeak was visiting a feeder in Mason. Also a California Gull was seen in Bangor.

In Ohio, a Varied Thrush was seen in Cuyahoga.

Nova Scotia is the latest place to host a Barnacle Goose (4), this one in Chebogue.

Massachusetts’s 11th record of Eared Grebe was seen in Barnstable, and a Painted Burning was visiting a feeder in Middlesex. 

New York has a Golden-crowned Sparrow visiting a feeder in Delaware. 

Maryland had, until recently, a Calliope Hummingbird at a home in Anne Arundel. 

And in North Carolina, a Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird was seen briefly in New Hanover, but has not been refound.


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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