The Portland birding scene was abuzz recently with news of a Prothonotary Warbler that was visiting a bird bath at a home northwest of town. For about a week, this little eastern warbler would arrive just before sundown, take a couple of quick baths, then disappear until the next evening. This made for a pretty easy tic for my state list.
This is only the eighth record of Prothonotary Warber in Oregon. The odds of someone finding and recognizing this bird were amazingly small. She was not associating with other birds, and the yard she was visiting was out in the country and not particularly birdy. One has to wonder, for every rarity like this that birders see, how many others go undetected?
Several southern species have been found in British Columbia but not in Oregon, including Black Vulture, Gray Kingbird, Mexican Violetear, and Xantus’s Hummingbird. Did these birds fly through Oregon before reaching Canada, or did they take another route?
This is what draws us outside to look through all the familiar birds. Most of the time, we just find the usual chickadees and such. But wayward birds pass through Oregon all the time. Most probably pass through unnoticed, but we just might find one the next time we go out.