April 17, 2020

Because of COVID-19 related Stay-at-Home orders in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area during spring migration. The ABA urges readers to respect state, provincial, and local restrictions on non-essential travel. The ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee has released guidelines on how birders should approach this unusual time and we urge birders, whether they are members of not, to consider them when deciding whether to travel to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy. everyone.

It’s Ruff season across much of the continent, and Iowa had a very nice male Ruff (ABA Code 3) in Johnson this week. It’s is suspected that most spring Ruff in the ABA Area represent birds that have been in the Americans for at least one year and are migrating back and forth with New World shorebirds.

We have a couple 1st records to report. In Kansas, a Black Phoebe was seen in Morton, in the extreme southwestern part of the state. Interestingly it was seen in a tree with both an Eastern Phoebe and a Say’s Phoebe. This would be a state 1st, though there have been some questions as to whether the bird is a pure Black Pheobe as some signs of possible hybridization with Eastern Phoebe have been noted.

And in Connecticut, a Townsend’s Warbler in Hartford is a 1st record, and one of a couple easterly Townsend’s Warblers discovered in the ABA Area this week.

One of those was seen in Illinois, this Townsend’s Warbler turned up in Cook. 

Wisconsin had a nice male Tufted Duck inWinnebago, seen by name birders hopefully practicing social distancing while they enjoyed this Old World vagrant.

In New York, a Cave Swallow was photographed in Monroe. 

Up in Labrador, the mainland part of the province of Newfoundland & Labrador, both Common Shelduck (5) and a Greylag Goose (5) were taken by hunters in the last week. The former in Nain and the latter near Mulligan. Both represent 3rd records for the province.

Florida had the season’s first record of Bahama Mockingbird (4) in Palm Beach. 

In Ohio, a Say’s Phoebe was seen in Cuyahoga. 

Texas’s 5th record of Garganey was a handsome male at Aransas NWR in Calhoun. 

And in Utah, a Varied Thrush turned up in Kane. 



Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org 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.