Because of continuing COVID-19 cases in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area. The ABA encourages readers to respect state, provincial, and local suggestions with regard to non-essential travel. The ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee has released guidelines on how birders should approach this ongoing pandemic and we urge birders, whether they are members of the ABA or not, to consider traveling to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone. We’re almost through this.
We have an ever-shrinking handful of familiar faces to lead off this week’s report including Northern Jacana (ABA Code 4) and Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Arizona, the Red-legged Thrush (5) and the Black-faced Grassquit (4) in Florida, and Blue Bunting (4) in south Texas.
but lest you think that the early spring doldrums is a slow time for birding, let this week’s headline dissuade you of that notion with a quickness. From New York come photos of an unusual Progne martin in Kings. The identification is tentatively Cuban/Caribbean Martin, but given how difficult identification of these birds frequently is, Gray-breasted Martin and Sinaloa Martin cannot be conclusively written off at this time.
There is only one confirmed record of Cuban Martin in the ABA Area, from 1895, though reports of both Cuban and Caribbean Martin do show up in Florida from to time. Sometimes those reports even include photos, but none have passed muster with records committees to this day, having more to do with the difficulty in separating Cuban and Caribbean Martins than either bird’s similarity to our familiar Purple Martin.
In any case, one hopes that the increasing proliferation of excellent photos of this individual leads us to something more conclusive.
Other birds of note in the ABA Area, include Indiana’s 2nd record of Barnacle Goose near Schererville.
In Florida, an adult male Western Spindalis (3) is a colorful and exciting find in Indian River.
And notable for North Dakota, a Varied Thrush was seen this week in Jamestown.
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.