American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: May 17, 2019

Notable ABA rarities continuing into this, the third week of May, include Slate-throated Redstart (ABA Code 4) in Texas, both Zenaida Dove (5) and Bahama Mockingbird (4) in Florida, and Little Egret (4) in Maine. The White-tailed Eagle (4) that overwintered on St Paul Island in Alaska turned up again this week, as did the Black-tailed Gull (4) reported last week. Also, a Barnacle Goose (4) continues to be seen in Quebec.

And it is in Quebec that we begin this week, where a Burrowing Owl in Abitibi was a one-day wonder but also a 1st provincial record. The speckled crown suggests that this is of the western subspecies which is a medium-distance migrant with a pattern of showing up in the east from time to time.

That was not the only 1st record to report. Kentucky also had a western bird representing a state 1st in the form of a Brewer’s Sparrow in Jefferson. The bird showed up at a feeder at the end of April, baffling the homeowner for good reason. The bird was identified after it had vanished, but remains a state 1st and another data point for this species that is likely underappreciated as a potential vagrant.

Continuing in the southeast, North Carolina had a Curlew Sandpiper (3) in Dare. 

A pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were seen in Berks, Pennsylvania, the farthest afield record of this species so far this year.

In New York, a Wilson’s Plover was seen in Suffolk, yet another extralimital record of this species this spring.

Rhode Island had not one, but a pair of Tufted Ducks (3) in Middletown.

In Connecticut, a Yellow Rail was discovered near the town of Old Saybrook. Several birders have contributed recording of it calling.

Good for Nova Scotia, a Blue Grosbeak was seen in Dartmouth.

Ohio’s 4th record of Townsend’s Warbler was seen in Lucas at Biggest Week, precipitating a mass exodus of birders from the festival HQ.

Illinois became the latest state to host a Kirtland’s Warbler this spring, in downtown Chicago no less.

Missouri had a small flock of Fulvous Whistling-Duck in Mississippi. 

In Arkansas, a Lazuli Bunting was seen near Centerton.

Minnesota had a Bullock’s Oriole, surprisingly only the state’s 3rd, in Brown this week.

In South Dakota, a Prairie Warbler turned up in Brookings. 

Colorado had a Common Gallinule in Larimer and a Swainson’s Warbler in Washington. 

Two Mexican Violetears (3) were seen in different parts of Texas this week, one at a feeder in San Antonio and another in the Valley in Hidalgo. 

Notable for Arizona was a Hooded Warbler in Maricopa, and the return of the Common Crane (4) in Coconino that has been seen in each of the two previous years.

Nevada’s 5th record of Cassin’s Sparrow was seen in Nye, not much more than a week after the state’s 4th record was seen.

Oregon also had a Hooded Warbler, this one in Corvallis. 

In British Columbia, the province’s 2nd record of Greater Black-backed Gull was seen well inland in Kelowna, Also noteworthy for BC, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen in Campbell River.

And in Alaska, a Little Stint (4) was seen on Shemya.


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.