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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bird Rarities

There's been a Common Shelduck spotted in MA by Jim Malone, and announced on massbird. This is a Eurasian species that can be in captivity. When one is seen in the wild the question arises, is it a wild bird arrived on its own, or did it escape from captivity. To see good photos of it, click here.
From massbird, Jeremiah Trimble says,
"Jim's report is very intriguing and I want to make sure that Massachusetts birders consider this report with great interest. It is always difficult to assess the natural occurrence of out-of-range waterfowl. However, this species has been on the radars of many birding folks as a potential true vagrant to northeastern North America. In addition, this species has increased dramatically over the last decade in Iceland, a good jumping off point to North America.
Most significantly, only 2 weeks ago, an immature male Common Shelduck was observed and photographed at Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's Newfoundland. At a good location for an arriving vagrant and at a good time of year, this bird was considered by many folks there to be a natural vagrant.... anyone who sees this (MA) bird please be sure to submit details and photographs to the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee"

And Marshall Iliff said, "The Newfoundland record just weeks ago (of a hatch-year bird) strengthens the case significantly...Yes, this species is kept in captivity, but with four records of Oct-Dec shelducks along the immediate coast and in appropriate habitat, it is perhaps time to reconsider the ABA/AOU policy that these are not acceptable vagrants."

This report will continue to be sorted out by the birding committees.

Meanwhile, birders wanting to hear about rarities in their area might be thinking, how do I find out? The answer is you sign up for the birding listserve covering your area and you will get emails as to what is being seen by birders in the field. For the archives of state by state birding email lists, go here.

1 comment:

LNMP298 said...

Last year, there was a Black-Bellied Whistling Duck reported in upstate NY, and many of us drove out to see it; the bird was a "lifer" for me. We found out a few days later, though, that the duck had escaped from captivity. I was disappointed that I couldn't add it to my lifelist!