American Birding Podcast



Rare Bird Alert: April 26, 2013

The birds are moving, and for the first time this spring it appears that unusual birds are moving just as frequently as the expected ones. There have been loads of amazing birds reported in the ABA-Area this week, and our streak of first records continues in a couple truly remarkable ways.

BAWOThe bird of the week (and a strong contender for bird of the year thus far) has to be the mind-blowing report of a Bahama Woodstar (ABA Code 5), the first such report in the ABA-Area since 1981. Even weirder, the bird wasn’t discovered in Florida where all prior records of this species have come from, but in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, of all places. (photo at left by Chris Bortz)

Originally reported as a possible first state record Broad-tailed Hummingbird, the bird was banded and its true identity revealed. As of the writing of this post, it hasn’t been seen since Wednesday afternoon, but not for lack of trying. Birders from all over have flooded in in hopes of a glimpse and updates both positive and negative can be found on the PA-Birds listserv.

The woodstar in PA is undoubtedly exciting, but Missouri would take the crown if concentration of great birds is considered. Not only was the Show-Me State’s first Golden-cheeked Warbler, one of only a bare handful outside of Texas, discovered near St Louis, but a stunning male Garganey (4), the state’s second, turned up at Swan Lake NWR in Chariton earlier in the week. Lost in shuffle was a Say’s Phoebe at Squaw Creek NWR, one of fewer than 10 records for the state.

Illinois also had a Say’s Phoebe this week, seen by many in Lake.

Across the border in Wisconsin, a White-winged Dove turned up in Racine and a Varied Thrush in Florence.

White-faced Ibis continue to turn up east of their normal range and one was found this week in Bay, Michigan.

In Ontario, good birds include the province’s second ever Violet-Green Swallow near Ottawa, as well as a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Port Glasgow and a Say’s Phoebe in the Toronto area.

Quebec had a Garganey (4) in Le Bic and a pair of Trumpeter Swans near Val-d’Or.

Somewhat lost in all the news of other incredible rarities this week, a Little Egret (4) was well-photographed in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia.

Good birds in New York include a Western Tanager in Irving and a Swallow-tailed Kite seen flying over Bronx.

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was seen in Bartow, Georgia.

Increasing in Florida but still notable, a Neotropic Cormorant was reported in Brevard.

Good for Louisiana is a “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler in Cameron.

The Rufous-capped Warblers (3) have returned to their reliable spot in Uvalde, Texas.

Glossy Ibis is a great bird for New Mexico, and one was reported in Socorro.

Incredible news from Arizona as the long-staying Nutting’s Flycatchers (5) at Bill Williams NWR have been confirmed to be breeding, actually fledging chicks this week. An additional Nutting’s Flycatcher was recently reported near Nogales. Great birds continue to come in twos with two Cresent-chested Warblers (4) in Cochise, one at Cave Creek Canyon and another in Miller Canyon

In Hawaii, a Wilson’s Phalarope was found on Maui.

A rare Swamp Sparrow turned up in Kenai, Alaska.

Good birds in British Columbia include a Dickcissel near Ladner, a Black Phoebe (one of fewer than 10 records for Canada) at Pacific Rim National Park, and a reported Winter Wren near Victoria.

A California Thrasher was reported this week in Klamath, Oregon.

In Nevada, a Common Black-Hawk was discovered in Clark.

Always excellent inland, a Red-throated Loon was found in Salt Lake, Utah.

In Colorado, a Hudsonian Godwit in Arapahoe is a great bird.

Good away from the immediate coast, a Eurasian Wigeon is in Boise, Idaho.

A Black-necked Stilt is exciting birders in Regina, Saskatchewan.

And the latest state with a Ruff (3) is Minnesota, where one was seen in Dakota.


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.