February 19, 2021
Because of rising 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. We do not endorse the pursuit of rare birds beyond your local area. 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 ongoing pandemic and we urge birders, whether they are members of the ABA or not, to consider them when deciding whether to travel to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
It was Great Backyard Bird Count week, and that means lots of birders out checking some of the rare birds have been hanging around and perhaps had not been reported recently. So it’s a big list of continuing birds this week with Northern Jacana (ABA Code 4) in Arizona, Red-footed Booby (4), Streak-backed Oriole (4), and Garganey (4) in California, Cuban Pewee (5), Black-faced Grassquit (4), Red-legged Thrush (5), and La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) still around in Florida. Redwing (4) in Maine and Nova Scotia, and Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) and Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in Texas.
Not much in the way of new continental rarities, but we’ve got some 1sts to report including a sharp Heermann’s Gull on Tybee Island in Georgia. There is some speculation that this bird is the same individual as has been hanging around in Florida for a few months, and the proximity to South Carolina has SC birders on the lookout for it to cross the state line where it would be a 1st for that state as well.
Also in seabirdy state 1sts, a Great Skua photographed in Long Island Sound near West Haven, Connecticut, would be a 1st for that state.
Up to Atlantic Canada where a Slaty-baked Gull (3) in Forteau, Labrador, is a nice bird on the Canadian mainland.
Nova Scotia continues to be riddled with Redwings (4), as the province’s 4th and 5th individuals of the winter were seen in Pubnico and Lunenberg this week.
New Jersey’s 7th record of California Gull was spotted at a gull roost in Sayerville.
In Alabama, a Bronzed Cowbird was netted as part of a banding operation in Foley.
Tennessee had a California Gull in Benton.
Indiana’s 11th Brant was seen in Lafayette this week.
In Ontario, a female Spotted Towhee was visiting a feeding station in London.
Notable for Oklahoma was a Cassin’s Finch at a feeder in Hinton, in the center of the state. All previous records had come from the panhandle.
In Arizona, a Streak-backed Oriole (4) was seen in Maricopa, and a Common Crane in Greenlee.
And a pair of Baikal Teal found on Midway Island was the 2nd record for the Hawaiian Islands.
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.