January 5, 2024

Welcome to a new year of rare birds! We still have a handful of rarities continuing into 2024, including the incredible south Texas tropical bonanza of Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (ABA Code 5), Roadside Hawk (4), Mottled Owl (5), Gray-collared Becard (5), Brown Jay (4),  Golden-crowned Warbler (4) and Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4). Also continuing are the Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in New Jersey and a Gray Heron (4) in Nova Scotia.

Maine closed out 2023 with a state 1st record of Hepatic Tanager visiting a private feeder in Waldo Co. This is the farthest east record of this southwestern species in the ABA Area. Hepatic Tanager is widespread throughout the tropical Americas, however the taxonomy is complicated. The northernmost hepatica group is migratory and is an infrequent, but increasingly regular, vagrant north and east.

One of the wilder stories to come out of the last couple weeks includes the news that a Missouri Wildlife Rehabilitation clinic, in a year-end sponsorship post on Facebook, revealed that they had held a young Red-footed Booby (3) in care in early November. The disoriented and inured bird was picked up on a highway near downtown St. Louis. It eventually succumbed to its injuries, but nonetheless represents the farthest inland record of this tropical pelagic species by several hundred miles.

Florida also welcomes back Red-legged Honeycreepers (4), as one was discovered early in the new year in Miami-Dade.

North Carolina’s 4th record of Western Flycatcher was discovered in a small downtown park in Durham Co this week.

In New York, both a Townsend’s Warbler and a MacGillvray’s Warbler, the latter the state’s 4th were discovered at the same site in the Bronx.

Connecticut boasts two Common Gulls (3) from either side of the species impressively broad range, a European bird in Windham, and an east Asian “Kamchatka” Gull in Stamford.

Rhode Island hosts  Bell’s Vireo in Sachuest.

And Nova Scotia gets a similar warbler combo to New York, but spread a little farther apart with a Townsend’s Warbler Cape Breton and a MacGillivray’s Warbler at Cole Harbour.

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.