May 29, 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.

What a week! We have a full slate of continuing rarities and the biggest haul of new noteworthy rare birds of the year so far. 2020 was a slow builder, but when it hit, it hit hard.

In Arizona, the Crescent-chested Warbler (ABA Code 5) are still around, along with slightly more regular rarities like Berylline Hummingbird (4), Common Crane (4), and Flame-colored Tanager (4). Little Egret (4) is still being seen in Maine and likely will be for the foreseeable future, and last week’s Black-faced Grassquit (4) in Florida continued into the week.

Dedicated birding excursions to St. Paul Island in Alaska were sadly put on hold this spring, but resident birders on the island are still capable of finding some gems. No doubt a frustrating find for birders who trips were postponed, a pair of Lesser White-fronted Geese (5) found on St. Paul this week lay down a marker that will be hard to beat the rest of the spring. This is only the 3rd record of this endangered and declining waterfowl for the ABA Area, with St. Paul now boasting two of those three.

Two first records to report for the period. One from Vermont, where a 1st record King Rail has been putting on quite a show for visiting birders in Orange.

And another 1st from Ohio in the form of a White-tailed Kite in Coshocton. 

Very good for West Virginia was a pair of Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Raleigh. 

North Carolina’s 2nd record of White-winged Tern, and the first since 1994, was seen in Dare. 

Connecticut’s 7th record of Loggerhead Shrike was seen and photographed at a private and undisclosed location.

St Pierre et Miquelon had it’s second Orchard Oriole in as many weeks this week.

In Newfoundland, a Northern Lapwing (4) in Bonavista is one of very few spring records for the island.

Good for Quebec was an Acadian Flycatcher in Montérégie.

Michigan’s 8th Cinnamon Teal was well-photographed in Clinton. 

Wisconsin had a slightly weird looking Bullock’s Oriole in Racine this week, one of fewer than 10 records for the state.

In Mississippi, at least two Gray Kingbirds were seen this week, with one in Jackson particularly accommodating.

Arkansas had a Brown Booby (3) at DeGray Lake in Clark, which is shockingly regular in the state these days.

Notable for North Dakota was a Blue-winged Warbler near Fargo.

Colorado had a female Rivoli’s Hummingbird visiting a feeder in El Paso. 

A very good find for Wyoming was a male Chestnut-sided Warbler in Albany. 

Phillips was the place to be in Montana this week as the state’s 2nd Tricolored Heron and the state’s 2nd White-eyed Vireo were found on the same day by the same birder.

Good for British Columbia was a Snowy Plover in Tofino.

Washington had an Eastern Phoebe in Spokane and a Northern Parula in Benton this week.

Oregon’s 2nd record of Wilson’s Plover was found at a closed location on the central coast, and the state’s 8th Orchard Oriole was photographed in Deschutes. 

Noteworthy for California include a pair of good birds in Kern, a Kentucky Warbler and the state’s 9th Alder Flycatcher.

And in Arizona, a frigatebird sp (likely Magnificent) was a flyover in Yuma. 



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