Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Unusual Bird Sightings January 13, 2012

2010 truly was a different kind of year weather-wise and unusually volatile in some parts of the country. Changes have also been observed in the birding community. There have been non-native birds appearing in unusual areas of the U.S.

This Broad-tailed Hummingbird, native to the south, southwest and as far south as Mexico, showed up in Illinois. It rarely shows up in states north of the central U.S. It caused quite a stir! Read the whole story here.

broad tailed hummingbird | copyright jerry goldner | paulasgardenpatch.com

© Jerry Goldner

Then there was a rare sighting in December of a Red-flanked Bluetail in California. This bird is rarely seen in North America. This is only the second ever found in North America outside of Alaska. The first was a juvenile male banded on Southeast Farallon Island, California. It’s an old world species that breeds mainly in Siberia and winters in southeast Asia. It visits North America (on rare occasion) mainly in spring to western Alaska, especially the Aleutians. Read more about the sighting here.

red flanked bluetail | justyn stahl | paulasgardenpatch.com

© Justyn Stahl

I think the birds know more than we do. 🙂 I’m keeping my eyes open for unusual birds in my yard and on my trail hikes. I usually have a camera with me, but I’m going to start taking my binocs. I recently spotted a bird I’ve been trying to catch for some time—the Pileated Woodpecker. And ever since hearing Barred owls camping last summer and seeing one near a road in December, I’m on a mission to catch one up close. Turns out it’s not so easy. Check out this short video of an Eastern Screech Owl and you’ll see what I mean.

Want to hone your bird ID skills? Take this quiz at AllAboutBirds.org. It will sharpen your observation skills and help to build an online Bird ID tool.

I haven’t seen any unusual birds yet, have you? Keep your eyes open! And let me know if you do!!

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