June 12, 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. 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 unusual time 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.

Continuing rare birds in the ABA Area are primarily in Arizona, which has had a tremendous spring with continuing Berylline Hummingbird (ABC Code 4) Crescent-chested Warbler (4), Common Crane (4), and Flame-colored Tanager (4). Maine’s Little Egret (4) seems comfortable for the summer and the Black-faced Grassquit (4) in Florida is still being seen.

As if Arizona didn’t have enough birding riches this spring, arguably the best bird of the year was seen late in the week. An Eared Quetzal (4), historically a very rare and extremely secretive vagrant to southeast Arizona, was found in Cochise. And better, it seemed to fly in the face of previous records by practically flaunting its presence in front of birders and photographers. This is a bird that is famously furtive even in the parts of western Mexico where it’s supposed to be found. It’s an early favorite for one of the best rare birds of the year in the ABA Area.

Even the first records to report for the week have a southeastern Arizona flavor with both Missouri and Oklahoma boasting first records of Rivoli’s Hummingbird this week. Despite their geographical proximity, photos revealed two separate individuals coming to feeders in Christian, Missouri, and Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

Georgia also had a 1st record this week, as a record of the ever-expanding Neotropic Cormorant was seen in Clay. 

Tropical Storm Cristobal’s path up the Mississippi River into the middle of the continent brought some expected storm waif, almost exclusively Sooty Terns.

Indiana’s 2nd Sooty Tern was picked up in the northeast part of the state (nothing more specific).

Wisconsin’s 2nd Sooty Tern was wrecked in Madison.

And Kentucky had a Sooty Tern in Marshall. 

Good for Maine was a Wilson’s Plover in Phippsburg.

Local St. Paul Island, Alaska, birders are still seeking out rarities, including recent Common Rosefinch (4), and Taiga/Tundra Bean-Goose.

Notable for Washington was a Northern Parula in Seattle.

Oregon’s 5th record of Yellow-throated Vireo was discovered in Malheur. 

Idaho’s 5th White-rumped Sandpiper turned up in Jefferson. 

Nevada had a Painted Redstart in Storey  this week.

In California, a Red-footed Booby (4) was photographed onshore in Monterey. 

And in Texas, a Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Brewster is back for the second consecutive spring, though provenance is an open question for the bird.



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.