How many records are there for Boreal Owl? When was the Black-tailed Gull found? When was the first Sandhill Crane nest discovered? Inquiring bird watchers want to know and the VBRC has the answers. Consult this annotated list to find out what we know about the rare birds of Vermont.
The Vermont Bird Records Committee database contains years of rare and unusual bird records, faithfully collected and reported by birdwatchers and vetted by the committee. These records contain valuable information that, when examined, can reveal trends, changes, and interesting tidbits about the state's avifauna. The entire database has been uploaded to Vermont eBird where you can explore and enter your Vermont bird records. Here, we present a brief history of the records, total observations, and other information about each species that the committee has collected. (This page is under construction)
Compiled and written by Craig Provost and Kent McFarland. Suggested citation: Vermont Bird Records Committee. 2017. An Annotated List of Vagrant, Out-of-season and Rare Nesting Birds of Vermont. Retrieved from http://vtecostudies.org/wildlife/wildlife-watching/vbrc/annotated-bird-list/.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) Vermont eBird Map
Two records of this species have been accepted, the first was an adult female taken by hunters on 13 October 1990 in Highgate Springs (eBird Checklist). The second report was by Andrew Greenwood of three birds at Herrick’s Cove in Rockingham on 8 August 1998 (eBird Checklist). The latter report was accepted as ‘origin uncertain’.
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) Vermont eBird Map
The first two records were accepted as ‘hypothetical’. First of those was found on 31 Mar 1999 in Grand Isle, Grand Isle Co. by D.J. Hoag and was accepted as ‘hypothetical’ because only one observer (eBird Checklist). Second record was an individual observed on 2 April 2011 in New Hampshire and tracked flying into Vermont, but not confirmed from the ground because of encroaching darkness at Allen’s Marsh, Westminster, Windham Co. by Don Clark, Taj Schottland, Martha Adams, and JoAnne Russo (eBird Checklist). The first fully accepted record was reported by Ted Murin and Scott Morrical with their report dated 11 April 2014 including photographs of their sighting along Creek Road in Salisbury (eBird Checklist). Many birders observed and reported this bird, with several photographs added to Vermont eBird checklists. The second fully accepted report was from 6 April 2015 near Shard Villa Road in Addison submitted by Ron Payne and Ian Worley (eBird Checklist).
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) Vermont eBird Map
First reported by Craig Provost near the South Hero ferry terminal in late March 1981 and accepted as ‘hypothetical’ as there was only a single observer (eBird Checklist). Later that year on 28 October, William Crenshaw and Tom Myers reported a specimen taken at Dead Creek WMA, which was the first fully accepted record (eBird Checklist). By December 2008, an additional 12 reports submitted to VBRC were accepted. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation, as the bird is found with some regularity in the state.
Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)
One report with a photograph of a single bird along Route 30 in Brattleboro on 18 April 2009 by Chris Petrak was accepted as ‘origin uncertain’.
Lesser Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens caerulescens)
One accepted record of 26 individuals reported by Hector Galbraith in Westminster on 1 April 2015.
Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii) Vermont eBird Map
Walter Ellison, Nancy Martin, and Bryan Pfeiffer documented the first accepted report of Ross’s Goose with their sightings on 27 October (eBird Checklist) and 25 November 1990 (eBird Checklist) at Dead Creek WMA in Addison. Twenty additional reports were accepted with the latest from November 2008, after which the VBRC no longer requested Rare Species Documentation for the species. Most sightings are from Dead Creek WMA in Addison, however there are scattered records from other regions of Vermont.
Brant (Branta bernicla) Vermont eBird Map
A regularly occurring species in fall, one out-of-season report was formally accepted of a Brant at Brilyea Access in Dead Creek WMA in Addison first observed on 23 and 24 July 2011(eBird Checklist) and apparently continued until 6 August.
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) Vermont eBird Map
Reports of this species were consistently treated as escapes or accepted as ‘origin uncertain’ for many years. The first accepted report (as ‘origin unknown’) was submitted by Roger Irwin and Barbara & David Killam of two birds in Maidstone from 14 to 19 May 1990 (eBird Checklist). More recently, this species has been regularly found in the eastern United States and the prevailing opinion is these are primarily wild birds. The first fully accepted record was documented by Terry Wright on 25 March 2007 and Dwight Cargill on 28 March 2007 along the Connecticut River in Vernon. Three additional Rare Species Documentation reports have been accepted since.
Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) Vermont eBird Checklist
Up until 2004, Cackling was considered a race of Canada Goose. The first four Rare Species Documentation Reports submitted to the VBRC (3 accepted; 1 no decision) occurred prior to 2004. The first accepted record subsequent to the split into two Species was Ted Murin and Fred Pratt’s sightings on 5 and 6 November 2005 at Dead Creek WMA in Addison. Five additional records were accepted up through 2008. The VBRC no longer requests RSD reports for birds observed during the October to April timeframe.
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) An introduced species that is found widely across the northeastern U.S. and the Canadian provinces north including the areas surrounding the Great Lakes. Decisions made on the first five reports on file (dated between 1985 and 1987) show either no decision or accepted as “feral”. Beginning on 8 April 1993 and continuing until 26 October, Meeri Zetterstrom observed and documented the first confirmed breeding report. The report involved a male, two females, and eventually three hatchlings, and included photographs. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation and the species has been encountered year-round. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is actively monitoring this introduced aggressive species and takes active steps to keep them from spreading or maintaining a breeding range in Vermont.
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) David Johnston observed, documented, and photographed the first fully accepted record from Tri-Town Water District along Lake Champlain in Addison on 26 May 2014. Three prior reports were not accepted. Active reintroduction efforts in Ontario and the Great Lakes area may contribute to additional records in Vermont.
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) The first accepted record in the VBRC files is William Barnard’s report of 11 birds in Northfield on 6 October 1983. 19 additional accepted records through 2003. The VBRC no longer requests RSDs, however Out of Season Reports are welcomed for any observations outside the migratory periods shown on the Vermont State List.
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) One report of this species which is native across northern Asia into the Scandinavian countries, came from Retreat Meadows in June 2001. The report was not accepted by the VBRC at their 2 November 2002 meeting.
Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) This southern Asian/north African species is frequently held in captivity. Two Rare Species Documentation submissions have been accepted by the VBRC as “escapes”.
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) Although its origin is uncertain, a male was shot and mounted by a hunter. Franklin Cattelona the hunter was interviewed by Bob Budliger who documented the details. The bird was shot along the Lamoille River in Morristown on 10 October 2011.
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) Two Out of Season Reports with the first on 23 December 1990 at Wilder Dam and reported by Walter Ellison and Nancy Martin.
Gadwall (Anas strepera) Ten Rare Species Nesting Reports have been accepted. The first was reported by Barbara Eastman dated 2 June 1950 at Blodgett’s Beach in Burlington. Seven of the nine remaining records are from Young Island off the northwestern shore of Grand Isle. The VBRC continues to request reports of confirmed breeding.
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) Between 1976 and 2002, sixteen RSD reports were accepted. Will Beecher and Michael Maurer submitted reports from April 1976 in Weybridge providing the first state record. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation, however the species is not found regularly in Vermont.
American Wigeon (Anas americana) There are eight records on file with six being Rare Species Nesting Reports and two Out of Season Reports. Sally Laughlin confirmed breeding of this species on Young Island in Grand Isle on 27 June 1981 during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. Both Out of Season Reports shows dates in the month of December. The VBRC still requests reports of confirmed breeding.
Blue-Winged Teal (Anas discors) A single Out of Season report from New Years Day 1984 in Castleton, provided by Sally & David Laughlin, and Helen Shepherd.
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) Three Rare Species Nesting reports have been accepted. The first record is dated 30 May 1905 as provided by George O’Shea. The location was in Alburgh. The other two reports are from 1962 and are of observations in North Hero and Alburgh. The VBRC requests reports of breeding.
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) C.J. Frankiewicz’s report dated 30 December 1990 in Rutland is the only Out of Season report of record. The single accepted Rare Species Nesting Report was submitted by David Hoag documenting his sightings on 26 & 28 June 1991 in Grand Isle with the report including photographs.
Garganey (Anas querquedula) Twice this Eurasian teal species has been found in Vermont. The first was found by Betty Rist in Orwell on 21 May 1988 and then seen by many other birders through the end of the month. A second Garganey showed at Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington where it was observed from 27 April to 1 May 2014.
Green-Winged Teal (Anas crecca) Five accepted records, three different types of records. C.J. Frankiewicz provided an Out of Season Report from West Rutland dated 1 February 1986. William Norse submitted a Rare Species Nesting Report of his observations at Herricks Cove in Rockingham on 9 June 1983. The report included a pair, as well as seeing the female with three ducklings. Green-Winged Teal (Anas crecca crecca) also referred to as Common Teal, the Eurasian race of the species, has multiple accepted Rare Species Documentation reports, the first provided by Hector Galbraith, Don Clark, and Taj Schottland of a bird in Rockingham on 7 April 2007.
Redhead (Aythya americana) A single Out of Season Report submitted by Jim Mead, including a photograph, covering his sighting in Addison on 24 August 2014.
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) Ian Worley and Ron Payne’s discovery of this species near the Crown Point Bridge on 1 January 2013 would bring many observers over the next five weeks, some from great distance. Numerous photographs are available (and visible in ebird) to include some showing a leg band. Further research of the style of leg band led to the conclusion this bird had escaped from captivity.
Ring-Necked Duck (Aythya collaris) Two Rare Species Nesting Reports have been accepted. The first is Frank Oatman’s documentation dated 14 June 1980 from Moose Bog in Ferdinand. This record was during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. The VBRC still requests reports of confirmed breeding of this species in Vermont.
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) Chris Sharp and Charles Gifford discovered this species on Shelburne Bay on 4 April 2000, constituting the first accepted record. From that date through April 2012, an additional 11 Rare Species Documentation reports were accepted. All records have occurred in the Champlain Valley, with all but one located on Lake Champlain waters generally in large mixed species concentrations. The VBRC only requests RSD submissions for sightings outside the Champlain Valley.
Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) Three Out of Season Reports, all with dates in the summer season. David Hoag’s submission from Grand Isle on 17 August 1990 is the first.
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) Two Rare Species Nesting Reports include Doug Kibbe’s report of an adult male in West Charleston on 3 July 1978 (possible breeding) and Walter Ellison’s report of an adult male during the first week of July in 1979 at Prouty Beach in Newport (also accepted as possible breeding).
King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) The first accepted record is of a specimen taken on 31 March 1905 in Colchester. Seventy years later at Kellogg Bay in Ferrisburg, Frank Baginski finds two birds constituting the second record. There are seven additional records from 1975 to 2008, with all reports from locations in the Champlain Valley.
Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) The first historical record of this species was provided by Marion Smith, of a specimen taken on 15 October 1955 in Burlington. Over a dozen other records occurred since and the VBRC no longer requests RSD reports for this species during its normal migratory dates shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) Joshlyn Clark’s report of an immature male specimen taken near Savage Island in Grand Isle on 24 November 1958 is the first accepted record. Fifteen additional accepted reports are of record up to 2008. The VBRC presently only requests RSD submissions for sightings outside the Champlain Valley.
White-Winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca) One Out of Season Report accepted, submitted by Steve Antell describing his sighting on 22 September 1984 in Charlotte.
Long-Tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) One accepted report of a pair in Peacham on 27 May 1984, out of season and the pair’s presence on that date raises the question of possible breeding, however unlikely that may have been.
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) A single Out of Season Report provided from David Hoag of his 18 July 1992 sighting in Grand Isle.
Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) Although earlier reports exist with limited details on their respective reviews, the first fully accepted record came from John Marsh who documented his observation on 26 March 1983 in Colchester. By 1991 another 15 records had been accepted. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation.
Red-Breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) Four Rare Species Nesting Reports and three Out of Season Reports have been accepted. The first confirmed nesting report was documented by Frank Oatman covering his observation on 22 June 1980 on Watson Pond in Calais. David Hoag reported the first Out of Season detailing his sighting on 7 July 1990 in Grand Isle.
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Five accepted Out of Season Reports with John Marsh’s sighting on 17 December 1983 at Blodgett’s Beach in Burlington being the first.
Chukar (Alectoris chukar) Two RSDs have been submitted and both accepted as origin unknown.
Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix) Around 1930 this species was introduced in high numbers in Western New York. The birds gradually spread northeast along the St Lawrence River Valley and later into northwestern Vermont and northeastern New York primarily in agricultural areas around the north end of Lake Champlain. Four Rare Species Nesting Reports are on record with dates beginning in 1950 and ending in 1980. By the end of the 1980s, Gray Partridge were no longer being found. The species continues to be found in limited numbers in Quebec along the St Lawrence River Valley.
Ring-Necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Five Rare Species Nesting Reports have been accepted, the first submitted by Thomas Ford-Hutchinson dated 8 September 2007 from Panton. In 1922, Vermont Fish & Game opened the first state run game farm for raising pheasants in Milton. This operation was closed in 1937, however Vermont Fish & Game continued stocking with pheasants purchased from outside Vermont but this too ended a decade later. Between 1966 and 1971, the State of Vermont again stocked pheasants. More recently, the species’s presence continues at least in part if not entirely dependent on continued releases by private citizens or escapes. The VBRC continues to request Rare Species Nesting Reports for evidence of confirmed breeding.
Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) Five accepted Rare Species Nesting Reports and one Rare Species Documentation (presence of a male in suitable habitat and in season), all from Essex County ranging from 1977 to 1997. Rare Species Documentation is requested for any reports outside of Essex County and the immediate area.
Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) The first and only record was documented with a cell phone video, photographs and written reports provided by six different individuals to include folks at a nearby business that had seen the mostly white bird wandering around their outside lunch break area. The recorded sighting was on 8 May 2014 along Route 2 headed east out of downtown St Johnsbury. Attempts to relocate the bird the following day were unsuccessful.
Pied-Billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) Twelve Rare Species Nesting Reports have been accepted, two as “possible” and the remainder confirmed breeding, beginning in 1985 and ending in 2005. In addition, there are three Out of Season reports, the first from Tom Rivest of his sighting in North Hero on 15 December 1991. The VBRC continues to request reports of confirmed breeding.
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) A single Out of Season Report from John Gallegos of his sighting in Highgate on 3 July 1984.
Red-Necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) Seven Out of Season Reports have been accepted, with all but one of the records being in the summer months.
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) The first accepted record of this species if from 4 October 1874 involving a specimen taken at Lake St. Catherine in Poultney. The specimen record is from Pember Museum in Granville, NY. All records are from the Champlain Valley, with observation dates in the fall into early winter.
Western/Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis/Aechmophorus clarkii) A report dated 1 April 1958 from Lake Morey in Fairlee was not accepted. The first and only accepted report of either species (formerly both were considered races of Western until split in 1985) is Bea Guyett and Marion Smith’s sighting on 30 November 1962 at Kingsland Bay in Ferrisburg.
Band-Tailed Pigeon (Patageoinus fasciata) Maeve Kim took a photograph at her home in Jericho of this different pigeon visiting her feeder. She shared the photograph with the birding community and soon realized she recorded the first state record. Although she was the only observer, her photograph confirmed the identification and the VBRC fully accepted the record.
African Collared Dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea) Four Rare Species Documentation Reports have been received and reviewed by the VBRC. The first record was submitted by Sue Wetmore of her sighting in Orwell on 3 September 2001, and accepted to genus Streptopelia. The other three records were all accepted as escaped birds.
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) The only documented record of this species was originally found at the feeders of John & Dianne Dunne in Norwich, and later confirmed by Spencer & Doug Hardy on 25 November 2009. The Dunnes would then be generous with the numerous observers that followed to enjoy this dove.
White-Winged Dove(Zenaida asiatica) Richard Lavallee’s report of his sighting at the Champlain Bridge in Addison on 2 September 2000 was accepted as hypothetical due to the submission being from one observer and lacking additional support such as photographs. On 28 May 2013, Rodney Olsen and Henry Trombley viewed and heard the first fully accepted record of this Species, with their submission including an audio recording. The 2013 sighting was at Dead Creek WMA in Addison.
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) The two accepted records of this species are both Rare Species Nesting Reports, one from Montpelier in 1990 (Pence) and the other from Strafford in 2002 (Faccio). Nighthawks formerly bred widely in Vermont, with concentrations in urban centers. During the 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas Project, a 91% drop in presence during the breeding season relative to the first atlas is noted. The species does continue to migrate through Vermont in the spring and fall, although the larger numbers occur when the birds are southbound in late August and early September. The VBRC continues to request Rare Species Nesting Reports for observations during the breeding season between the migratory windows shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Eastern Whippoorwill (Caprimulgus vociferus) As with its relative Common Nighthawk, Eastern Whippoorwill observations of confirmed, probable or possible breeding reports are still requested by the VBRC. Accepted records include an Out of Season record dated 19 March 1985 in Rockingham and submitted by Dorothy Downey. Rare Species Nesting Reports include Sue Wetmore’s report, accepted as on territory in Brandon in May and June 2003, and Pamela Hunt’s report dated 26 June 2004 from Hartland that included a chick and shell pieces was accepted as confirmed breeding.
Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) Two reports have been submitted to the VBRC however both were not accepted due to insufficient details. Separation of this western species from Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, its closely related co-genitor from the east, can be challenging particularly when lighting conditions affect the appearance of throat color.
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) Nine accepted records of this species beginning with Francis & Corrine Jennings report covering 1-9 August 1991 in South Starksboro. The remaining records are scattered across the state and primarily occur in the fall migratory period.
Yellow Rail (Coturnicops novboracensis) The first accepted record of this species was recorded on 18 July 1887, collected by George H. Ross in Mount Holly. In 1913, another specimen was collected by Richard Marble in Windsor. From there the reports jump forward to a heard only bird at South Bay in Newport on 3 June 1975 and documented by Frank Oatman and Jon Wood, and two years later on 10 September 1977 George O’Shea documented the fourth and last record of this species.
Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) A total of three reports of this species are on record but only one has been accepted and is considered hypothetical, primarily because the report did not come directly from the observer. That report is from June 1959.
Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitans) There is one accepted record of this species from a specimen collected by W.P. Conger in Burlington, date unknown. The specimen is preserved at the University of Vermont.
King Rail (Rallus elegans) A report of this species from Dead Creek WMA on 17 & 18 May 1994 from Ted Murin and Scott Morrical, that included a tape recording of the call (heard only; observers were not able to get a visual observation) was accepted by the VBRC at that time as King/Clapper Rail. Regrettably the tape recording cannot be located.
Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) The first accepted record of this species was reported by Robert Fuller, Barbara Eastman, and James Stewart and was seen by many observers from 7 September to 10 October 1961 in Addison, Panton, and Ferrisburg. From that time to 2005 an additional 17 reports have been accepted with birds observed at various locations across the state. E.J. Elithorpe and Randy Durand provided the first Rare Species Nesting Report on 24 April 2005 and annually the next two years, from Bristol Pond in Bristol. Nancy and Joseph Bell submitted the second Rare Species Nesting Report dated from March through August 2012 from Fairfield Swamp in Fairfield. Rare Bird Documentation Reports are no longer requested for this species however Rare Species Nesting Reports are still requested.
Common Crane (Grus grus) The only report of record is of a bird in Whiting on 10 June 1991 and observed by Roy Pilcher that was accepted as an escape.
Whooping Crane (Grus americana) There is one historical record on file with the VBRC that was not accepted as there are no details available.
Black-Necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) There is a single historical record from 11 September 1886 of a specimen taken in St. Johnsbury by C.W. Graham. Whereabouts of the specimen is unknown.
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Four accepted records of this species with the first dated 22 September 1978 from Addison and reported by Douglas McNair. The other records include an individual present at Dead Creek WMA in Addison from 5 August to 19 August 1994, an individual located at Lake Lamoille in Morristown on 21 July 1991, and an individual at the mouth of Dead Creek (Mississquoi NWR) in Highgate in October 2014.
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) One report of an individual that has been reviewed by the VRBC was submitted by David Hoag of his observation on 6 September 2000. The report was accepted as hypothetical as it was single observer and additional documentation such as a satisfactory photograph was not available.
Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) Two records of this species exist (in 1901 and 1946) are on file and both have not been accepted due to insufficient details.
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) The first accepted record is dated 2 October 1908 and documented by Lucrecious H. Ross and found in Bennington. The second and last record involved observations from 3 September to 6 September 1952 in Burlington from Richard Lavallee, Normand St. Jacques, Marion Smith and Anna Smith.
Willet (Tringa semipalmata) There are multiple accepted records of this species with the first record dated 8 September 1928 from Burlington and reported by H.C. Fortner. The first of these records identifying to subspecies is dated 2 September 2012 from Allan Strong and Larry Haugh, and the VBRC accepted the record as Tringa semipalmata inornatus (the race commonly referred to as “Western”). It is probable that prior records involved members of this race, as “Eastern Willet” is largely found along the Atlantic Coast and rarely recorded inland. The VBRC no longer requests documentation of this species, however the bird is not found annually. To date, all records have come from the Champlain Valley.
Whimbrel (Numenius phaepus) George Hall provided the first accepted record dated 20 August 1982 from Dead Creek WMA in Addison. Like Willet above, all records are from the Champlain Valley with Dead Creek WMA accounting for four of the seven records. The VBRC no longer requests documentation on this species other than for out of season reports as shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Black-Tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) First and only accepted record of this species was originally found and reported by Patricia Folsom of a single bird in West Salisbury on 29 April 2007. Numerous observers would see this individual subsequent to her find the following day to include photographs visible on ebird.
Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) Lucrecious Ross documented the first accepted record from Woodford in Bennington County. Additional accepted records begin in 1954 to 1999. The VBRC no longer requires documentation of this species other than for out of season reports.
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) The first and only accepted record was along the Connecticut River in Norwich on 30 May 2011, documented with photographs and written report from Spencer and Doug Hardy.
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) Walter Ellison, Nancy Martin, and Sally Laughlin’s report of this species from St Albans Bay on 7 September 1980 is the first accepted record of Red Knot. There are an additional 16 accepted records through 2011. Although the VBRC no longer requests documentation of this species during its migratory periods shown on the Vermont State Checklist, documentation is requested for any observations outside the Champlain Valley.
Ruff (Calidris pugnax) There are two accepted records of this species, both from Dead Creek WMA in Addison and Panton. William Norse’s record of this species on 19 September 1974 was the first, and was accepted as hypothetical as he was the only observer and no additional documentation such as a photograph was provided. The second record was of a bird at Panton Crossing that was seen by several observers between 6 and 14 July 1991.
Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus) All but two of the accepted records of this species are from Dead Creek WMA in Addison/Panton. The records begin with Walter Ellison and Nancy Martin’s report dated 25 July 1982. By 1986 an additional 10 records were submitted and accepted. Rare Species Documentation is no longer requested.
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) There are two accepted records of this species in Vermont, both recorded in the early 1990s. The first was found when Dwight Cargill and Craig Provost stopped at Panton Crossing to check on the Ruff (see above) which was there and found this species as well on 13 July 1991. A photo of the sketch drawn at the time of observation appears in Vermont ebird. The second record was also from Dead Creek WMA in 1994.
Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima) Six accepted records are on file, all dated from 1982 to 1985. The VBRC no longer requires documentation of this species, however it is not found annually or readily, perhaps due to its choice of habitat that is widely available along the rocky shoreline of Lake Champlain much of which is hard for observers to cover, and that it moves through Vermont in limited numbers.
White-Rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) The VBRC has accepted four out of season records of this species. These OOS reports are all from the 1990s and ultimately prompted changes to the dates shown on the Vermont State Checklist which is edited annually.
Buff-Breasted Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis) Marion Smith and Elizabeth Ball’s report of this species from Burlington on 29 August 1953 is the first accepted record. Through 2008 an additional 18 reports were accepted. Documentation is no longer requested by the VBRC, although it is not found annually and most observations are from the Champlain Valley.
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) There are seven accepted records of this species all from the Champlain Valley. William Norse’s report from Colchester on 9 September 1982 was the first record. The last accepted record was Richard Lavallee’s report of a bird at the Dead Creek Outlet in Mississquoi NWR in Highgate. Care must be taken with identification as separation of this species from other “peeps” is difficult.
Long-Billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) There are 11 accepted records of this species with the first dated 9 September 1984 submitted by Walter Ellison & Nancy Martin who observed a juvenile bird at Dead Creek WMA in Addison. Eight of the accepted records are from Dead Creek. Identification of this species poses some difficulty with separating it from the more commonly occurring Short-Billed Dowitcher. Rare Species Documentation is no longer requested for birds found during this species’s normal migration period shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicate) Five Out of Season records have been accepted through 2015. Three are from December, and one each from January and February. Out of Season reports are no longer requested.
Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) The first accepted record of this species was initially submitted by Walter Ellison with additional reports from others presumed to be the same bird. 25 July 1982 at Dead Creek WMA in Addison was the first date with additional dates following, the last being 29 August 1982. This species is not found annually, however accepted records are sufficient for the VBRC to no longer require documentation, other than for observations outside the Champlain Valley and for out of season reports.
Red-Necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) Two records from two locations on 6 September 1981 were the first accepted; Kit Shelton’s report from Lake Carmi in Franklin and Richard & Dorothy Lavallee’s observation of 4 individuals on Ball Island in St Albans Bay. This is the mostly likely phalarope species an observer may encounter in Vermont. Rare Species Documentation is not requested by the VBRC.
Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) There are nearly 30 accepted records of this species. Richard Marble collected a specimen in Windsor on 10 November 1916 and this is the first accepted record. The VBRC does not require Rare Species Documentation, however observers should be careful with the identification as separation from other phalarope Species can pose challenges.
All three Species have been almost exclusively encountered along the shore of Lake Champlain, beginning the last week of August and continuing into early to mid-November with Pomarine being the most likely in the last week of this period. Identification to Species is difficult particularly with young birds and observers should note a variety of field marks and behaviors when fortunate enough to encounter any jaeger. What we know of jaegers in Vermont today is in large part due to the efforts of Ted Murin and Richard Lavallee. Richard Lavallee’s time and experience boating on the lake, and early sightings of rare Species while out on the water, inspired some birders to search but mostly from shore. In the late 1990’s, Ted Murin began positioning himself at various lakeshore sites scanning, in typically less than comfortable weather, and continuing each fall since. The VBRC now only requests Rare Species Documentation for jaegers seen away from the Champlain Valley, and for those reports that are on dates outside the ranges shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) The first accepted record was submitted by Richard Lavallee of a sighting in Addison on 3 October 1987. Lavallee would also provide the second record from a bird found on 26 October 1987 near Savage Island in Grand Isle. Ted Murin provided the next five accepted reports beginning in 1999 and ending in 2003, with all reports from Charlotte.
Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) Richard Lavallee’s report of this species on 26 October 1987 off Georgia Shore is the first record, accepted as hypothetical as he was the only observer. On 1 November 1997, Ted Murin found a dark morph bird in Addison, which would be seen again by him and others over the next 6 days. Murin accounts for the first nine records of this species beginning in 1997 and ending in 2001.
Long-Tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) The first accepted record was of a bird found at Emerald Lake in Dorset on 11 September 1974 by Walter & George Ellison, Thomas Will, and Arthur Bornor. The specimen is housed at the University of New Hampshire. Ted Murin would report the next record from Charlotte on 4 November 1999 adding five additional accepted reports spanning the next 9 years (all observed in Charlotte), with David Hoag providing another 3 records from Grand Isle between 2001 and 2008.
Dovekie (Alle alle) There are four accepted records of this species. The first refers to a specimen taken by a person named Cutting, no specifics on location, and dated 16 February 1905. The second is also a specimen, in this case mounted, from Dr. Lucrecious Ross on 31 May 1910 in Bennington. More recently, a dead bird was found by VINS staff in Rochester on 26 November 1978 and is preserved at VINS in Woodstock. The last accepted record, this time of a bird that survived the observation, was reported by Richard Lavallee and Dennis Abbott on 7 November 2007 from Grand Isle.
Common Murre (Uria aalge) Two records have been accepted with the first being of a mounted specimen collected by G.H. Ross in East Wallingford on 14 March 1905. The specimen remained on display at a clothing store in town. Paul and Sandal Cate submitted the second record of a bird in Calais on 25 November 1976.
Thick-Billed Murre (Uria lomvia) Both of the two fully accepted records are of specimens taken with both study skins located at the Dead Creek WMA Headquarters. The first was found in South Hero, collected and prepared by Robert McBride on 28 November 1950, and the second collected in Middlesex by Philip Bruce on 2 December 1950. A third record from South Bay in Newport on 19 June 2005 was accepted as hypothetical.
Razorbill (Alca torda) One observation from Tri-Town Water District in Addison on 7 January 1983 was not accepted by the VBRC during their 11 September 1983 meeting.
Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) Marion Smith and Normand St. Jacques report of this species at the Burlington Waterfront from 3 November to 30 November 1955 is the first accepted record. Five additional records have been accepted, with all records from the Champlain Valley.
Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus) The lone record of this species is from a video taken by two paddlers on Shelburne Pond, Brandon Frank and Emily Hall, using a cell phone on 17 April 2014 to film what they thought to be an odd-looking duck. The video was later seen online by Steve Mirick of New Hampshire who made Allan Strong (VBRC co-chair at the time) aware of the video, which later would be submitted as Rare Species Documentation.
Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) A news article in the Rutland Herald describes how Mr. & Mrs. Fish and A.H. Benton found the first state record of this species along Cold River Road in Rutland on 6 or 9 December 1960. The second accepted record is from the Burlington Waterfront on 27 November 2003 and reported by Robert H. Smith.
Black-Legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) The first record is from 1884 of a specimen taken by C.W. Graham in St. Johnsbury. Specimen’s whereabouts are unknown. An additional 20 records have been accepted through 2003. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation on this gull species except for sightings outside the Champlain Valley and out of season reports if sightings are not between the first week of August through Thanksgiving.
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) A report from Dr. Oliver & Barbara Eastman dated 21 April 1982, viewed from their home in Oak Ledge in Burlington, was the first hypothetical record. The first fully accepted record was Ted Murin and David Hoag’s from Nichol’s Point in Grand Isle 4 January 2000. Two more accepted records are on file, one in Charlotte from 2000, and the other from Alburg in 2010.
Sabine’s Gull (Xema sabini) Richard Lavallee provided a report dated 3 October 1987 including photographs of 2 juvenile birds at Button Bay in Ferrisburg, and later that day in nearby Addison. After this, ten additional accepted records span from 1988 through 2003 and all from locations along Lake Champlain. Rare Species documentation is no longer requested by the VBRC other than for birds outside the Champlain Valley and for sightings outside the normal range (September thru the first week of October).
Black-Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) The first accepted record was provided by Walter Ellison and Richard Lavallee of a bird found in Addison on 29 October 1988 with their report including a photograph. Another 13 accepted records are on file spanning the 20 years after 1988. All reports are from locations in the Champlain Valley. As with other Species where reporting and documentation is no longer requested, the VBRC requests documentation of any sightings of this species outside the Champlain Valley and for sightings earlier than 10/7 and later than 11/7.
Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) On 11 November 1975 Walter Ellison found and documented an adult Little Gull at Blodgett’s Beach in Burlington, new for the state list at the time. Since that report, another 10 records were accepted, and shortly after the VBRC no longer requested Rare Species Documentation. It is generally found annually but sparingly in the Champlain Valley.
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) Although a hypothetical record from 1883 in Bristol exists, the first fully accepted record of this species is from 22 April 1990 in Orleans, reported by Frank Oatman and Jon Wood. Additional records on file are scattered across multiple counties.
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) Between 31 August and 22 September 1968, Richard Eldred’s sightings and eventual report from Lake Memphremagog in Newport is the first accepted record. An additional hypothetical record from 19 May 1984 in Middlebury is on file. In late 2015, a large movement of this species into the northeastern US occurred. After much searching, a first winter bird was found by Ted Murin and Steve Antell at Long Point in Ferrisburgh on 15 November 2015, with other observers also able to see and document the bird.
Black-Tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris) The only record of this species began when Julie Hart and Matthew Medler found, photographed, and reported it from Charlotte Town Beach on 18 October 2005, and then seen by others (reported by some) that day and for roughly two weeks after. Its primary range is along the western Pacific coastline, but does show some vagrancy pattern eastward across North America but remains very rare across the continent. Numerous photos of the Charlotte bird are visible on Vermont ebird.
Thayer’s Gull (Larus thayeri) The first four records were all accepted as hypothetical, starting with Walter Ellison and Nancy Martin’s sighting on 5 March 1983, followed by reports from December 1989 (Provost), December 1996 (Hoag) and 2004 (Murin/Strong). All four hypothetical records are from the Burlington Waterfront. Finally, Heather Forcier, Ted Murin, and Bryan Pfeiffer found and documented a Thayer’s Gull at the Intervale in Burlington on 10 December 2005 that represents the first accepted record. Two additional accepted records would follow, one in Burlington and most recently Hank Kaestner’s sighting from 15 December 2012 at Town Farm Bay in Charlotte providing the first record outside zip code 05401. Identification of this bird is difficult and to separate it from other Species observers should carefully note and/or photograph as many of the bird’s assorted field marks including comments on any other possible references to shape, size relative to other Species nearby, and posture.
Lesser Black-Backed Gull (Larus fuscus) Dr. Oliver and Barbara Eastman, and Walter Ellison found the first accepted record from Blodgett’s Beach in Burlington on 21 January 1975. Thirteen additional records from 1988 to 2012 have been accepted, with most coming from the Champlain Valley and two from Brattleboro, 1 in 1988 and the other in 2001. The VBRC only requests documentation on this species if it is observed outside the Champlain Valley or out of season.
Slaty-Backed Gull (Larus schistisagus) Ted Murin, Allan Strong, David Hoag, and Jim Mead documented the first accepted record. The bird was found resting on the ice off the Sandbar Causeway in Milton on 9 January 2011. Two years later the species returned and was found in Panton by Spencer Hardy, Ron Payne, Ian Worley, and Ted Murin and viewed by others. Not to be expected, but that is not to say we should not scan gull flocks carefully.
Great Black-Backed Gull (Larus marinus) There are two accepted Rare Species Nesting Records, both from 1983 representing the first confirmed breeding in Vermont, and submitted by Richard and Dorothy Lavallee, with Sally Laughlin on one of the dates. Both reports included photographs.
Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus) All five accepted records of this species are from September 1979 (6th thru the 12th) with four in the Connecticut River Valley and one in Sandgate (Bennington County). This tern incursion came on the winds of Hurricane David. Four of the five were either not found live or were too ill to survive, with Charles Browne’s sighting of a bird at McIndoe’s Falls in Barnet being the exception.
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) The first two accepted reports of this species are from Normand St. Jacques, with both sightings occurring in Burlington, first on 22 May 1955 and again on 10 July 1955. Fourteen additional reports have been submitted to the VBRC up through 1999. On 12 July to 2 August 2000, David Hoag located this species frequenting Young Island in Grand Isle and his Rare Species Nesting Report was accepted with breeding probable. Two years later on 14 July 2012, David Hoag and Dave Capen found a Caspian Tern on an egg, the first confirmed breeding record for Vermont. The species is now regularly seen along Lake Champlain and on some inland water bodies not far from Champlain, such as Shelburne Pond.
White-Winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus) This Eurasian species is a close relative of Black Tern, that occasionally strays from Europe to the northeastern part of North America, and from Asia to Alaska. The first accepted record is from Hartford on 12 June 1987, reported by Geoffrey Lamdin, Nancy Martin and other observers. A second record is from Lake Carmi in Franklin dated 19 August 2009, submitted by Sue Wetmore.
Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) There are four accepted records, and interestingly all are from locations in the eastern half of Vermont. Eleanor Ellis, Ken Cox, and Don Clark submitted the first record from 12 May 1981 in Reading. The next day, Mary Holland found a deceased bird in East Barnard, the second record (same bird?). The two remaining records are William Norse’s report on 11 May 1988 in Brattleboro and Kyle Jones’ report from 16 May 2006 in Randolph.
Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri) Richard Lavallee, Nancy Martin, and Walter Ellison share ownership of the first accepted record of this species, found in St Albans on 7 October 1985. Seven additional accepted reports are on file. The first (and only) accepted Rare Species Nesting Report was provided by Mark LaBarr, Laurie Sears, Ted Murin, and Andrew Webbe. The group found Forster’s Tern nesting on Popasquash Island (offshore from St Albans) on 2 and 12 July 2010. Two additional records were accepted in 2016 for sightings from Herrick’s Cove in Rockingham and Dead Creek Outlet in Highgate.
White-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) Three historical records of this species, all from three separate towns (three separate counties) and all dated 22 September 1938 (storm related). Two records have been accepted with a bird found in North Danville by Joseph McGill with the specimen delivered to Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, and the other found in Woodstock by Richard Marble and Richard Weaver with a specimen and slides were taken. The third record that was not accepted is of another bird found by William Goss in the village of Adamant in East Montpelier.
Red-Throated Loon (Gavia stellata) Three accepted Out of Season Reports, with the first dated 25 July 1987 in Woodbury and reported by Stephen & Sheila Fraser.
Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica) Ted Murin and David Hoag’s report from Grand Isle on 6 November 2007 is the first record of this species. The report included independent sketches and comments from both observers. Input from various authorities on the species noticed consistent subtle markings in both sketches that they felt were supportive of Arctic. The report was accepted as hypothetical at the 1 November 2008 VBRC meeting.
Arctic/Pacific Loon (Gavia arctica/pacifica) Up until 1985, these two Species had previously been treated as one species, Arctic Loon. There is one accepted sighting from Frank Oatman and Wayne Scott subsequent to this split, dated 2 November 1990 at the Champlain Bridge, including input from other observers on 11 & 12 November 1990. This bird was not identified to either species, but is the first record of one of them.
Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) Almost 20 Rare Species Documentation Reports have been accepted through 2016. The first two reports were both accepted as “hypothetical” due to both involving one observer and no additional details such as photographs. Whitney Nichols with his observations between 15 and 18 December 1993 in Brattleboro is the first hypothetical record. The first fully accepted record occurred on 13 October 2002 at Charlotte Town Beach and documented by Ted Murin, Allan Strong, and Larry Hills.
Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialus) The first of two accepted records of this species is from 4 December 1976 when Dr. Edward Flaccus photographed an individual in Bennington, rehabilitated it, and later succeeded in releasing this pelagic bird back into the wild. The second record was a light morph bird viewed by Theodore Murin from Thompson’s Point in Charlotte on 23 November 2000.
Black-Capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata) Only known record of this species is from August 1893 and reported by Glover M. Allen. The limited details indicate its presence was storm-related and that a specimen was taken. Due to the lack of sufficient notes and the specimen’s location being unknown, the report was not fully accepted and this species is not yet on the Vermont State Checklist.
Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) The single accepted record is of an individual found in Wheelock by E.L. Skinner on 22 September 1938 (hurricane related).
Great Shearwater (Ardenna gravis) The first accepted record of this species is from 21 September 1938 reported by George L. Kirk and George H. Ross. The individual bird was found in Rutland and a specimen is noted to have been taken but its location is unknown. Almost four decades later, the second accepted record submitted by Maureen McMahon, Dr. Oliver & Barbara Eastman is of a single bird found on the lakeshore along Appletree Bay in Burlington on 16 June 1976. The bird was exhausted, captured, and attempts to rehabilitate were unsuccessful. A photograph of this bird appears in Vermont ebird. Richard Lavallee’s report of this species viewed from Ladd Point at the north end of South Hero on 3 August 1992 is the most recent accepted report.
Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) Two historical reports by an H.C. Fortner reference specimens with one bird near Hanover NH and another from Brattleboro. Specific dates and the location details are vague. Neither report has been accepted.
Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) Records consist of a single report from David Hoag of a bird off Grand Isle on 24 August 2011. The VBRC did not accept the report, but did accept it as a shearwater species.
Wilson’s Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) The first historical record is from an undetermined date prior to 1895. The first accepted records came from David Hoag and viewed from Grand Isle on 20 September 2003, and a day later another report of this species from Charlotte Town Beach viewed by Ted Murin, Steve Antell, and Larry Hills.
Leach’s Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) There are 8 historical reports of this species all of which have been accepted. The first was of a bird found at Lake Fairlee in August 1905 and collected by Dr. Leland Griggs. The specimen is preserved at the Montshire Museum in Norwich. A record from 1933 and five others in 1938 from various locations, mostly along the Connecticut River Valley are all accepted from written records to include comment that specimens were taken (but to date missing). More recently, Richard and Dorothy Lavallee’s report with photographs of an individual viewed from Grand Isle on 21 September 1989, and Ted Murin’s report from 16 September 2001 round out the list of accepted records.
Band-Rumped Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma castro) Tropical Storm Irene delivered the only accepted record of this species on 29 August 2011. Kenneth Moeller found the dead bird in Hartland and delivered it to Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Initially identified as a Wilson’s Storm Petrel, it was later determined to be a Band-Rumped Storm Petrel. The specimen has been archived at the Harvard Institute of Comparative Zoology.
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) One rare bird report from 15 July 2012 of an individual bird along Route 30 in Manchester was not accepted by the VBRC. Report indicated a brief sighting and the details provided were insufficient.
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) First state record of this species was on 23 August 2014, first spotted by Gary Chapin at Crown Point. Additional observers located the bird that day from the Vermont shore and numerous sightings would occur the next two months from various locations (progressively northward) along Lake Champlain as far north as Grand Isle where David Hoag’s sighting on 15 October 2014 is the last recorded.
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) The first accepted record was on 21 September 1938 of a live bird found by E.O. Thompson and Wendell P. Smith in East Corinth. The bird was rehabilitated by Mrs. Howard Drew of Barre and a photograph was taken. Two years later on 4 November 1940 another bird was found in North Hartland by Richard Weaver and a specimen taken. From late 1940 through 1983 there are no records. Beginning in 1984 and sporadically continuing over the next 19 years, another 13 reports would be accepted with 11 from the Champlain Valley. As a result, the VBRC removed the requirement for submissions of Rare Species Documentation for this species if observed in the Champlain Valley, but continuing the requirement if observed in other parts of the state. Only report dated after 2003 from outside the Champlain Valley is of an adult bird observed and photographed on 29 August 2011 by Guy Crosby and Sara Eisenhauer in Hartland, courtesy of Tropical Storm Irene.
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) Prior to 1977 there are 3 historical records that were not accepted due to insufficient details. The first accepted record occurred on 12 October 1977 of an immature bird in Burlington and spotted by Frank Oatman and Chris Schultz. Over the following 30 years another 13 records have been accepted. This species is not encountered annually and Rare Species Documentation is only requested if the bird is observed outside the date ranges shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) Only one record (by a single observer; no photograph) has been accepted as hypothetical. Scott Morrical reported a single individual (female) observed soaring over Burlington on 4 June 2005.
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) The records show 10 reports of this species beginning in 1944 and ending in 2016. The sightings are separated by five to twenty years apart, although the four most recent sightings include photographs from Marvin & Sue Elliot, Roy Pilcher (both in 2011 at Kent Pond in Killington in May and November respectively), Miranda Hunt at Hardwick Lake in July 2016, and Tim Biebel at Mill Pond in Windsor on 15 September 2016.
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) Pete Muscatello submitted the first accepted record of a lone individual on Kellogg Bay in Ferrisburg on 17 October 2003. The second accepted last record of this species was of another lone bird on Lake Dunmore, photographed and reported by Ron Payne, Mike Korkuc, Sue Wetmore, and Ian Worley.
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) Although there are 3 records from the 1970s, no files can be found to see the details on whether they were accepted. The first accepted record since was of a bird found by William Norse in Winhall on 5 October 1980. Since that time, an additional 16 records have been reviewed and accepted. Despite the Rare Bird Committee’s decision to no longer request reports of this species, it is not found widely or annually.
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Four accepted records. The first was found on 17 August 1980 by Dr. Oliver and Barbara Eastman, and Brian Farrell in Shelburne. The remaining three accepted reports include two from Addison (Chimney Point and Dead Creek) and the most recent in 2006 from Delta Park in Colchester.
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) There are 8 accepted records of this species. The first was found by Robert Fuller in August 1958 in Addison. The most recent record is from 2015 of an immature bird that was first found in mid-August at Bomoseen State Park in Fair Haven and would be seen, reported and photographed by numerous observers until 12 September.
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) Two records are on file of this species. The first is from the late 1870s and has not been accepted as it lacks sufficient details other than that it was observed in Woodstock. A report from late August 1975 in Grand Isle was accepted as hypothetical as it was only seen and reported by a single observer.
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) The first accepted record of this species is from 6 September 1981 of an individual bird in Winhall and reported by William Norse. By 1998 an additional 11 accepted records were on file, and although Rare Species Documentation is no longer requested, the species continues to be rarely encountered.
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) C.W. Graham provided a historical record from 11 July 1884 with a specimen taken in Woodbury. Through 2009, another 15 records have been accepted. The VBRC no longer requires Rare Species Documentation however any report should include some comments or photographs as it is still an unusual find.
Swallow-Tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) There are two accepted records of this species both from the 1980s. Betty Rist and Marlene Dawson’s report of an individual in Middlebury on 26 May 1983 was the first, followed by Anne Aversa and Barbara DeAngelis report of an individual in Washington (Orange County) on 28 March 1986.
White-Tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Two Rare Species Documentation reports have been considered by the VBRC (one from March 2004; the other from April 2005) however both submissions did not include sufficient details or support for what would represent a new addition to the Vermont State Checklist.
Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) One report from March 2009 is on record but similar to the White-Tailed Kite submissions above, did not have sufficient details to support. However, beginning in 2008 and continuing through 2015, this species has been observed and successfully nested in the Newmarket, NH area west of Portsmouth.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) A report from a single observer covering 4 separate dates and three locations ranging from Rutland north to Addison in February 2000 was not accepted.
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) All four accepted records of this species come from the Connecticut River Valley. The first record is of an individual specimen from Hartland on 23 May 1915 collected by Richard Marble and Evaline Morgan. The three remaining records are all from hawk watches; one from Winhall on 5 September 1980 and the other two from Putney Mountain in 2011 and in 2014.
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) There are over 50 accepted records through 2015. Presently documentation is only requested if the observations are outside the migratory timeframes for this species which are late March through the end of April in the spring, and the month of October to mid-November in the fall. 14 (27%) of the accepted records are from dates outside these periods.
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) The first four accepted records of Barn Owl are Rare Species Nesting Reports all from the 1970s during the first Atlas project. The first was provided by Beatrice Guyette with her report covering 18 May thru 22 September 1977 of a pair on a nest with five eggs in Ferrisburgh. Reports from Rodney Olsen (location on private property) between 2008 and 2011, the latter including an accepted Rare Species Nesting Report, indicate the species continues to be present in Vermont, but it’s very limited numbers and nocturnal reclusive habits contribute to its very rare encounters with birders.
Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) Beginning with Lucrecious Ross’ collection of a specimen in Woodford in 1903, there are a total of 19 accepted records spread across eight of Vermont’s fourteen counties. This bird when found will often remain at or near a specific location for weeks and is active during daylight hours. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation other than for out of season records.
Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) Nine accepted records of Great Gray Owl begin in 1984 with the most recent record in 2008. Frank Oatman and B.J. Wicklow’s report of this owl in St. Johnsbury beginning on 9 January and continuing to 26 February 1984 is the first. The reports are scattered across the state and range from late October to late March. Not to be expected in any particular location.
Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) There are some historical references to this reclusive owl from the 1920s but the first four accepted records were all during the first Atlas project and all were Rare Species Nesting Reports. An additional 18 accepted records are on file with the preponderance of sightings from the Champlain Valley. This owl is secretive and generally active when most observers are not. The VBRC continues to request any reports on nesting.
Short-Eared Owl (Asio flammeus) Seven Rare Species Nesting Reports are accepted spanning 1977 to 1988 all from the Champlain Valley. The VBRC still requests documentation of any indication of breeding.
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) The first accepted record is from an unknown date in 1891, with a specimen taken in Lunenburg. Four other records are on file between 1919 and 1936. The records do not resume until 1992 of a bird photographed by Bill Donlon in Enosburg on 5 March 1992. Two years later Gary & Donna Young, and David Burnor videotaped another in Bakersfield on 11 March 1994. In June 2001, Thomas Ryder, Kent McFarland, Jim Tietz, and Allan Strong recorded this species on two separate dates on Stratton Mountain, raising the question of a breeding attempt. The two most recent records, with photographs provided by Rodney Olsen of his observations in Addison in 2001 and 2008, are the most recent accepted reports.
Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) The single record of this species was provided by Paul Therrien and Rose LaPoint, with the report including photographs of their sightings on 6-8 June 2007 in Lyndonville.
Red-Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) Alan Pistorius submitted the first accepted record of his sightings in June and July 1979 in Bridport. Since, there have been another 19 accepted reports including 9 accepted Rare Species Nesting Reports. This bird’s presence in Vermont is limited and can occur at any time of year with feeder stations frequently being visited. The VBRC continues to request Rare Species Nesting Reports.
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) The first state record of this species began on Christmas 1978 and continued thru 21 April 1979 in Stratton, reported by Albert & Millie Dupell . The female bird was photographed. Additional reports would be accepted over the ensuing years, with increasing frequency, until May 2001 when Laura New videotaped a pair at a nest site in Brattleboro, the first accepted breeding record. The species is now found widely across the state although still a challenge to find in the northeastern counties.
American Three-Toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) E.W. Cronin’s Rare Species Nesting Report of a male bird in Albany on 12 June 1978 (presence during breeding season) is also the first accepted record. Nine additional reports have been accepted up to 2008, with four of those being Rare Species Nesting Reports. Reports are almost exclusively from the Northeast Kingdom. Photos of the two most recent records (Berkshire during the winter of 2008 and Lemington in September 2016) appear in ebird.
Gyrfalcon(Falco rusticolus) Chris Schultz and Peter Zika, during their last semester at the University of Vermont, found the first accepted record of Gyrfalcon along the Winooski River in Burlington on 23 February 1982. Since that report, there have been roughly three dozen additional records accepted, all from the Champlain Valley. The VBRC continues to request Rare Species Documentation Reports on this species.
Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) The first accepted record comes from a report submitted by Ted Murin, Tyler Pockette, and Kaylee Pollander (includes photos) from Gage Road in Addison on 1 January 2014 (Happy New Year). A year later came the second record of this species from nearby Otter Creek and Nortontown Roads, both in Addison and again the multiple reports included photographs.
Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) A historical record from 14 July 1904 in Pownal, provided by Lucrecious Ross. The details are not provided, however Ross’ records generally involved specimens being taken. An additional seven records have been accepted, with recent reports including photographs and sound recordings.
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) One report of this species on record from Leicester (Lake Dunmore) in September 2004, was not accepted due to insufficient details.
Say’s Phoebe(Sayornis saya) Elizabeth & Lloyd Weeks report dated 16 November 1985 was accepted as hypothetical. The first fully accepted record was from reports provided by Sue Wetmore, Julie Nicholson, Fred & Eleanor Pratt (Team Pipit), and Scott Morrical. This bird was first found on 29 October 1994 in Brandon and would remain in the area until 28 April 1995. There is a total of five accepted records with the most recent in late fall 2011.
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) Only two accepted records of this species. On 22 September 1989, J.J. & Lucy Hand and Nancy Martin documented their observations in Barnard. The second record is from 8-9 June 2013, seen by many in Orwell and originally found by Sue Wetmore.
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) The first documented report came from C.B. & B.L. Hoisington of their sighting on 26 May 1997 in Bethel. This report was accepted as hypothetical. The first accepted record came from Barbara Powers, Paul Beaulieu, Lynn Bondurant, and John Whalen, documenting their sighting on 9 May 2009 in Arlington. Three days later, another (possibly the same bird) was reported by numerous birders from West Rutland Marsh.
Fork-Tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) There are two accepted records of this species prone to straying north to eastern North America from its normal range in South America. The first record is from 1884 from St. Johnsbury, with a specimen collected by C.W. Graham and preserved at the University of Vermont. The second record was initially found by Bea Guyette in Ferrisburgh, with numerous reports beginning on 10 June 2000 and continuing through 25 July. Reports also include photographs.
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) During the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Loggerhead Shrike was confirmed as a breeding species, although confined to the Champlain Valley and not widely found. Since 1978 when the last year breeding was noted, only six records have been accepted. This species has shown a general decline overall recently, most notably in the northeastern U.S. The VBRC requests reports on any observations.
White-Eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) A historical record from the Spring of 1893 is the first accepted report from a person named Evans. Bob Spear’s find in St. Albans on 9 September 1997 was followed by an additional 14 accepted reports through 2011. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation for this species in season.
Plumbeous Vireo (Vireo plumbeous) One report of this member of the former “Solitary” group from May 2000 was not accepted.
Cassin’s Vireo (Vireo cassinii) Another member of the former “Solitary” group. Scott Morrical, Fred Pratt, and Ted Murin documented their sighting of this bird at Red Rocks Park in South Burlington on 21 May 1997 constituting the first and only record of this species in Vermont.
Blue-Headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) The third and final member of the former “Solitary” group. One out of season report is accepted, submitted by Daniel Crook and Jean Sangdahl of their sighting in North Westminster on 21 December 1996.
Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) Seventeen Rare Species Nesting Reports and one Out of Season report have been accepted. The last RSNR is dated 29 June 1981 with all the reports dated during the First Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. Pat Folsom’s report from Waitsfield on 31 October 2008 is the only accepted Out of Season Report on file.
Red-Eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) The single Out of Season Record was submitted by Frederick Pratt of a late observation on 10 November 1997 in South Duxbury.
Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) The VBRC shows 15 accepted records, 9 of which are Rare Species Nesting Reports, most submitted in the early 1980s as part of the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. The remaining records are of “vagrants” outside the normal range in the Northeast Kingdom, almost exclusively Essex County. Wanderers have been recorded from Franklin, Lamoille, Windham, Chittenden, and Windsor Counties. The VBRC continues to request Rare Species Nesting Reports.
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) A report provided by Elisabeth MacDonald of this bird on 20 October 1986 in Topsham has been accepted. It is the only report to date of this species.
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) Tom Maloney and John Dunn submitted a report of their sighting on 8 April 1992 in Brattleboro. The VBRC accepted the report as Hypothetical. Ted Murin, Scott Morrical, and others documented what is the first fully accepted record, with reports spanning most of the month of May 1998 that additionally provided the first nesting record. The birds were found in Red Rocks Park in South Burlington. A small population continues to persist in the Burlington Area, with others being found occasionally in the Connecticut River Valley. The VBRC requests Rare Species Documentation for any sightings outside the Burlington Area.
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) From 1978 to 1981 during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas, 11 Rare Species Nesting Records were accepted. Most were in the Champlain Valley with one record from the Lake Memphremagog area. Documentation of sightings or nesting is no longer requested.
Cave Swallow (Pterochelidon fulva) The first accepted record was of an individual bird at Charlotte Town Beach on 15 November 2008 and found by Craig Provost and Heidi Rich. The next day numerous other birders were able to observe and add to the documentation of this state first. However, a year earlier on 23 November 2007, Michael and Barry Blust observed a bird in West Bridport and provided a report, however the details could not clearly rule out Cliff Swallow and the report was accepted as Pterochelidon species (Cliff/Cave).
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) The file on this species consists of one Out of Season Report submitted by David Hoag of his observation in Grand Isle on 24 & 25 November 2004.
Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus) Two Rare Species Documentation records have been accepted for observations made away from the Northeast Kingdom (principally Essex County), consisting of Kim Likakis’ record from 3 January 2006 in Bennington and Chris Petrak’s report from 13 March 2008 in Newfane.
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) Thirteen accepted Rare Species Nesting Reports were recorded from 1975 to 1981 in the midst of the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. In the 1970s this species’s presence became increasingly more widespread and is now found statewide.
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) Similar to Tufted Titmouse, this species arrived in increasing numbers in the 1970s here in Vermont. The first nesting record accepted was from the summer of 1977 from Chipman Hill in Middlebury, and documented by Wayne Scott.
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) The first and only accepted record is from the VINS Banding Station in Woodstock on 27 May 1975, with June Vydra and Julie Cleveland’s report including photographs.
Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) Two accepted Out of Season Reports show observation dates in the month of December. These reports are dated 27 December 1984 (Nancy Martin & Walter Ellison) and 28 December 1985 (Walter Ellison & Hugh Putnam) of sightings in South Woodstock and Springfield respectively. Out of Season Reports are no longer requested.
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) From 1976 through 2014 25 accepted Rare Species Documentation reports (including 3 Rare Species Nesting Reports) have been accepted. The first accepted record is from Don Clark who documented three birds in Saxton’s River in June 1976. The first accepted nesting report was submitted by Allan Strong and Ted Murin, who found a pair carrying food and a fecal sac along South Street Extension in Middlebury on 13 August 2006.
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) Four Out of Season Reports are of record during the months of November and December, with the most recent in 2006.
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) Another species whose population grew steadily from the 1970s and into the 1980s. There are 27 Rare Species Nesting Reports beginning with Whit Nichols report of birds carrying nesting material and present from 23 April through the end of July 1977 in Brattleboro. The VBRC now only requests Out of Season reports for birds seen outside their normal date range as shown on the Vermont State Checklist. There are two accepted Out of Season Reports both from Addison County in December.
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) Speaking of Out of Season Reports, there are six on this species with one from early January, reported by Tait Johanssen from Barnumville on 4 January 1987, four during the month of December, and one from the 1st week of March.
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) Wayne Scott’s discovery of this bird at the mouth of the Winooski River in Colchester on 27 September 1980 is the first accepted record. Several other observers would see the bird over the next four days and provide photographs. Of the 13 accepted records, all but 3 (individual birds found in Vershire, Rochester, and White River Junction) are from the Champlain Valley.
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) John Adams and Dick Lavallee reported the first (and only) accepted record. The bird was found in Grand Isle on 2 April 1989 and would be seen by additional observers through 8 April 1989.
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) The first record of this species is of Roy Pilcher’s find in West Rutland on 27 December 2003. The bird remained an additional day for other observers to see and add further documentation, to include photographs. Five additional records are on file (with another pending from December 2016) including observations in Chittenden, Franklin, Orange, Orleans, and Windham Counties.
Gray-Cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus) Gray-Cheeked and Bicknell’s Thrushes are closely related and previously were considered the same species. Field identification to separate the two is a significant challenge, other than reports of Bicknell’s on breeding territories in Vermont and heard more often than seen. During migration periods (May and September), Gray-Cheeked is a very rare migrant and silent birds observed in these timeframes should in most cases be recorded as Gray-Checked/Bicknells. There are two accepted records of Gray-Cheeked, with the first submitted by Larry Clarfeld, Chip Darmstadt, Ken Benton, and Jeannie Williams of an individual captured at the North Branch Nature Center banding station in Montpelier on 27 September 2012. The report showed numerous photographs of the bird in hand, and assorted measurements.
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) Our state bird has been reported Out of Season five times between the months of December through February. The VBRC no longer requests Out of Season reports.
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) Unlike other thrush Species, when this species is observed it is a relatively simple identification and often will linger at a specific location (frequently at feeders). The first accepted record was reported by Constance Stone, Richard Marble, and others of a bird that remained in Pomfret from 10 December 1967 to 26 March 1968. The 20 accepted records are spread across 10 of Vermont’s 14 counties.
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) Between 1985 and 2010, observers submitted eight Out of Season Reports that have been accepted. Out of Season Reports are no longer requested on Gray Catbirds encountered in the winter months.
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) Similar to catbird, this species has occasionally been encountered during the winter months. The first accepted Out of Season Report is of a photographed bird that spent most of the month of January on River Street in Woodstock in 1991. There are four other OOS reports on file and are no longer requested by the VBRC.
Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) Three Out of Season reports have been accepted all with observation dates in the last week of October 1989.
American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) Twice this species has been documented lingering into early winter, once in Shelburne in 1994 and once in Addison in 2006. VBRC continues to request Out of Season reports for observations made outside the normal date ranges shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii) A single report from 13 August 1978 in Addison was not accepted due to insufficient details. Ebird shows six records of this species in the east since 1900, north of the Carolinas to include Quebec and the Maritimes.
Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) One Rare Species Nesting Report and one Out of Season record. The RSNR documents a male bird present on Mount Mansfield in Stowe from 18 to 30 June 1980 and reported by Arthur Wagner. (recorded as “possible breeding”; present in suitable habitat during breeding season) Daniel Lindner’s report of a male near Hazen’s Notch in Lowell on 6 July 1985 is the lone OOS.
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) As the latter half of its Latin name implies, this species is native to western North America. Cage birds being illegally sold were released in New York in the 1940s and by the 1970s had expanded their range into Vermont. The records show 17 Rare Species Nesting Reports beginning on 17 April 1977 and endimg in 1981. The expansion into Vermont occurred via the Hudson and Connecticut River valleys and now the species is widely found across the state.
Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) Six Rare Species Nesting Reports from July 1977 through September 1988. This species can be present in numbers some years and absent in others. The VBRC continues to request RSNRs documenting confirmed breeding.
White-Winged Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) 26 Rare Species Nesting Reports beginning in January 1977 and ending in March 2007. Similar to Red Crossbill, its presence varies from year to year. The VBRC no longer requests RSNRs.
Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) Katherine Shelton’s Out of Season Report covering 3 – 26 September 1980 in Underhill is the only accepted record.
Hoary Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni) A total of 41 Rare Species Documentation Reports have been submitted to the VBRC beginning with Doug Kibbe’s 29 September 1980 sighting of two birds in Bridgewater which was accepted as hypothetical. No records were fully accepted from the 1980s and 1990s however the practice at the time was to accept them as hypothetical. Part of the debate then and continuing to the present, is there are differing views on whether “Hoary” and “Common” are distinct and separate Species or races of the same species. Rare Species Documentation Reports at present are not requested by the VBRC.
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) 16 Rare Species Nesting Reports all dated during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas (1976-1981). Ed Hack’s report of a pair in Stockbridge on 7 May 1977 is the first.
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Three records have all been accepted, however they have respectively been accepted as escape, origin unknown, and provenance uncertain. There are populations in the Chicago and New York metropolitan areas. This species is commonly kept as a cage bird.
Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) Four nesting records have been accepted. The first nesting record is from 12-14 July 1926 in Woodstock, reported by Richard Marble and comments regarding four downy young. The two latest reports were during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. Rare Species Nesting Reports are not currently requested.
Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) Two Out of Season reports are on file with one accepted record submitted by Kyle Jones of his sighting in Royalton on 11 May 2014.
Smith’s Longspur (Calcarius pictus) Walter Ellison and Nancy Martin’s discovery and subsequent report is the first accepted report, considered hypothetical due to insufficient documentation (primarily receipt of three independent reports and/or photographs) for a first fully accepted record. The sighting occurred on 25 April 1981 in White River Junction.
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) Two Out of Season Reports both from the Connecticut River Valley. The first accepted report provided by Walter Ellison, Nancy Martin, and Dan Crook documenting their sighting in White River Junction on 6 January 1985
Worm-Eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum) Bob Spear’s report of two birds in Colchester on 22 April 1962 is the first accepted record of this species. There are nine additional records from various locations with five from the Champlain Valley followed by Windham County with three. The species is known to breed on Mt. Tom roughly 40 miles south of Windham County and the map in ebird for Massachusetts shows numerous sightings along the Connecticut River in some cases even closer to the Vermont state line.
Golden-Winged Warbler (Vermiviora chrysoptera) A Rare Species Nesting Report dated 12 May 1985 and multiple days after, reported by Michael Maurer of his observations (involving 1 female and 3 males) in Westford. Presently, only Out of Season Reports of this species are requested.
Blue-Winged Warbler (Vermiviora cyanoptera) Alan Pistorius’ report of a pair with young in Sudbury on 9 July 1976 is the first accepted record of Blue-Winged successfully nesting in Vermont. As with Golden-Winged, only Out of Season Reports continue to be requested.
Golden-Winged x Blue-Winged Hybrids These two Species regularly hybridize wherever both are in contact. There are two commonly encountered hybrids (Brewster’s Warbler and Lawrence’s Warbler) that can be easily recognized. There are five accepted Rare Species Documentation reports of these forms. There are also other assorted variations of hybrids that can provide entertainment to observers that encounter them.
Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) A report dated 16 May 2008 from Swanton was not accepted due to insufficient documentation.
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) W.E. Balch found and collected a specimen on some date prior to 1891 in Lunenburg. This is the first accepted record. There have been eight more recent reports starting in 1973 and the latest in 2016 that have been accepted, with seven of those from the Champlain Valley.
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrine) Four Rare Species Nesting Reports were accepted in the early 1980s during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. The reports are from both ends of the state, including Winhall and Londonderry in the south, Brighton and Hardwick in the north.
Orange-Crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata) The VBRC now only requests Out of Season Reports. The normal date range of observations is mid-September to mid-October. The first accepted record was provided by Chris Schulz, documenting his observation in Burlington on 29 October 1981. 28 accepted records follow, with only 9 of these being dates outside the normal range (plus a month on either end of that range).
Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) A single Out of Season report dated 3 December 2002 in Rutland, submitted by Marsha Booker, has been accepted.
Connecticut Warbler (Oporornis agilis) The first accepted record belongs to William Norse’s observation and rare bird report documenting a sighting on 16 September 1983 in Winhall. Through 2011 an additional 22 reports have been accepted. All but one of the accepted reports are in September, with the outlier seen on 2 October 2011. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation and only requests Out of Season reports of sightings outside the normal migration dates shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Kentucky Warbler (Geothlypis formosa) On 30 May 1905, W.E. Balch collected a specimen in Lunenburg constituting the first state record. A total of 9 accepted records are on file with all but one being from the Connecticut River Valley.
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) The months of December and January account for all Out of Season Reports accepted. The first was submitted by C.J. Frankiewicz on his sighting on 31 December 1982 in Rutland. The VBRC no longer requests Out of Season Reports on this species.
Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina) James Vogleman’s report from the second week of May 1980 in Jericho is the first record of this species. There are five additional records through 2016. The last two accepted records are both from Whipstock Hill in Bennington with the first reported by Eric Seyferth starting on 30 June 2014 through 5 July on Whipstock Hill in Bennington.
Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) During the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas, nine Rare Species Nesting Records were submitted and accepted starting in 1977 up to 1981. Since that time, three Out of Season Reports have been accepted and the VBRC continues to request reports of confirmed nesting.
Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) The first three accepted records are all Rare Species Nesting Reports, with the first report dated 22 June 1977 submitted by Walter Ellison documenting his find in Colchester along the Lamoille River. The VBRC only requests Rare Species Nesting and Out of Season Reports on Cerulean Warbler. This species has a limited presence in Vermont and can prove difficult to find from year to year.
Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) One Out of Season Report provided by Chip Darmstadt of a bird observed on 15 November 2010.
Bay-Breasted Warbler (Setophaga castanea) All the accepted reports are Rare Species Nesting Reports. There are seven reports with the first six occurring during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas, and the latest submitted by Roy Pilcher detailing his sightings from 27 June to 29 June 1995 at Brighton State Park in Brighton. A pair was seen feeding nestlings. The VBRC continues to request RSNRs documenting confirmed nesting.
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) One Out of Season submission from December 1992 was not accepted due to insufficient details.
Black-Throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) An adult male was photographed and documented by Forrest, Kristin, and Colleen Hammond from 30 December 1997 to 26 January 1998 in South Reading. This is the only Out of Season Report of this species.
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum) The first and only Out of Season Report of Palm Warbler is of a bird in Cabot from 16 to 23 December 1991 as submitted by Gerson Katz, Ken Elmer, and Mark Rahill. Following that are two Rare Species Nesting Report, both from Yellow Bog in the town of Lewis, within the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge. The VBRC continues to request RSNRs documenting confirmed nesting.
Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus) Six Out of Season Reports are accepted, with the two most recent of sightings both occurring in November 2014, with one each from Rutland and Windham Counties. The VBRC no longer requests Out of Season Reports on this species.
Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) Five accepted Out of Season Reports, ranging from mid-December to mid-March. Out of Season Reports are no longer requested on this species.
Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata audoboni) Nikolas Kotovich provided the first documented report of this western subSpecies. His report included a sketch of a hatch (first) year male at the Intervale in Burlington on 4&5 December 2012. Two records of this subspecies have been accepted.
Yellow-Throated Warbler (Setophaga dominica) Despite some references suggesting occurrences in 1905 and in 1949, the first accepted record occurred on 10 May 1959 in Topsham and reported by Elisabeth Macdonald. Ten additional accepted reports have occurred since.
Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor) Nine Rare Species Documentations were accepted from 1971 to 1981 beginning with Don Clark’s report from Saxton’s River in 1971 representing the first accepted record. One Out of Season Report has also been accepted, provided by Michael Blust dated 7 December 2007 from Poultney. The VBRC now only requests Out of Season Reports.
Black-Throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens) A single report from June 1997 was not accepted due to insufficient details of this western species.
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla) There are three Rare Species Nesting Reports, all from Essex County, but only one has been accepted as confirmed breeding. The other two reports from Yellow Bog in Lewis in 1988 and 1993 were accepted as probable breeding.
Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) A total of 16 reports of this species have been accepted, with the first three being Rare Species Nesting Reports starting with Mary Riley’s report from 23 May 1978 in Cavendish. All three RSNRs occurred during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. The remaining records are scattered across the state. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation however the bird is not reported annually.
Green-Tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus) From 16 December 1989 to 5 May 1990, Whitney Nichols, Walter Ellison, and others provided reports and photographs of this western species that wintered in Brattleboro. It is Vermont’s only accepted record.
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculates) Formerly treated as conspecific with Eastern Towhee (“Rufous-Sided Towhee”) and more recently split into separate Species. Judith Jeriak, Walter Ellison, and Nancy Martin documented, to include photographs, of what then was a subspecies of Rufous-Sided Towhee. The bird was observed from mid-December 1989 to 11 February 1990 in Manchester Center.
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) There are 10 accepted Out of Season reports ranging from the last week of November through January. The majority are from the southern part of the state, with Bennington County accounting for half the records.
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) A total of 9 Out of Season records are on file with dates ranging from early December to the end of January. Most were observed at feeders.
Clay-Colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) The first accepted record was provided by Walter Ellison whose report covered his 12 May 1978 observation of this species in Burlington. The report included photographs. Since that day, another 20 accepted records have been accepted to include 5 Rare Species Nesting Reports confirming breeding. The first RSNR was of David Hoag’s observations in 2000 beginning on 24 June initially and later on 22 July he found the nest including eggs. Photographs were attached to the report. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation of sightings in season however reports of confirmed nesting are still requested.
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) Tait Johansson’s report dated 28 December 1986 in Bartonsville (Windham County) is the first of six accepted Out of Season Records.
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) This species’s file includes one accepted Rare Species Nesting Report and four Out of Season reports. The RSNR is dated in June 1990 and involved an adult on a nest with 4 eggs in Chester, ironically reported by Chester Adams.
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) The first three reports submitted to the VBRC were accepted as “Hypothetical” as all involved a single observer and no supplemental media such as photographs. The first of these was submitted by C.J. Frankiewicz documenting his observation on 17 May 1985 in Rutland. There are now two fully accepted records with the first being Spencer and Doug Hardy’s find in Norwich on 5 September 2012 with their report supplemented by other observers that added further details on the sparrow to include photographs.
Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) A record from 18 May 1967 is the only accepted record of this species in Vermont. Thomas Foster and Barbara Beecher banded the bird in Bennington, and also provided photographs.
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) There are seven accepted Out of Season Reports up through 2002. Two additional submissions, one in 2010 the second in 2012, were reports of the “Ipswich” subspecies. Both reports lacked sufficient documentation to be accepted. The “Ipswich” Sparrow was formerly considered a separate Species. It breeds almost exclusively on Sable Island off the eastern coast of Nova Scotia and winters along the Atlantic Coast, with most on the Nova Scotia mainland and the New England coastal states, although there are scattered records further down the coast.
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) Twelve Rare Species Nesting Reports have been accepted along with one Out of Season Report. The first accepted nesting report covered the timeframe beginning on 10 May and ending on 6 August 1974. The report was provided by Judge George Ellison and his son Walter. They further provided supplemental details from following years. This report was not reviewed by the VBRC until 1980. The additional RSNR records end in 1992. The VBRC continues to request reports of confirmed breeding of this species in Vermont.
Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii) Similar to Loggerhead Shrike, this species has shown a steady decline in the northeastern United States. During the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas, it was reported from two locations, with one report considered probable breeding. Five of the six accepted Rare Species Documentation submissions accepted are from the Connecticut River Valley, three from South Londonderry.
LeConte’s Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) There are two accepted records. The first is accepted as Hypothetical as Nancy Martin was the only observer of the bird at West Rutland Marsh on 10 October 1988. The first fully accepted reports were individually provided by Allan Strong, Ted Murin, and Craig Provost documenting their observation at Pomainville WMA in Pittsford on 17 October 2009. Reports included photographs visible on ebird.
Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) There are various historical records where it is difficult to determine what current defined Species were observed. What current taxonomy considers two separate Species, from 1980 to 1996 the “Nelson’s Sparrow”, “Acadian Sparrow”, and “Saltmarsh Sparrow” were considered one species. In 1996, “Nelson’s” and “Acadian” combined became Nelson’s Sharp-Tailed Sparrow while “Saltmarsh” became Saltmarsh Sharp-Tailed Sparrow. 2009 brought us to the current common names of Nelson’s Sparrow and Saltmarsh Sparrow.
The first accepted records of Nelson’s Sparrow are of specimens taken by George Kirk and George Ross on 8 October 1916 in both Rutland and nearby Clarendon. Kirk would also collect specimens in October each of the following two years. The first accepted Rare Species Documentation was provided by Ted Murin and Allan Strong with details on their sighting dated 3 October 2004 at Shelburne Bay. The next two accepted reports dated 16 and 18 October 2004 respectively, were from the same location and perhaps the same bird. A total of 16 accepted records are on file, ending in 2011. In addition, there are five records accepted as “Nelson’s/Saltmarsh” as the details in those reports lack sufficient detail to determine which species. Rare Species Documentation is no longer requested by the VBRC for sightings during the migratory date ranges shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
There is a single accepted record of the former “Acadian” Sparrow race Ammodramus nelsoni subvirgatus.
Ted Murin and Leah Tansey independently documented their sighting at Pomainville WMA in Pittsford on 9 October 2013.
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) Five Out of Season Reports with the first spanning 31 January to 8 February 1995 frequenting a feeder in Middlebury and reported by Marge and Janet Nelson.
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) 26 Rare Species Nesting Reports were submitted with dates ranging from June 1977 through June 1981 during the first Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. There are also three accepted Out of Season Reports. The VBRC no longer requests RSNRs.
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) C.J. Frankiewicz’s Out of Season Report dated 29 December 1985 in Clarendon is the first of six accepted OOS records.
Harris’s Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) The first accepted record is from 18 January through 10 April 1949 in Burlington, reported by Anna Reynolds, Marion Smith, Elizabeth Ball, Gordon Meade, and Marguerite Kingsbury. The next visit on file is from late November 2000 through 4 March 2001 in Putney. Three additional records have occurred since.
White-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) There are 11 accepted Out of Season reports, 10 in the winter months and one from mid-June 1990. Out of Season Reports are no longer requested.
There is one accepted record of the “Gambel’s” race Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii; Hector Galbraith’s report including photographs of his sighting on 20 November 2012 in Vernon.
Golden-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) Marlene and Norton Latourelle’s home in Orwell was visited by this bird on 13 April 2009 where it would remain for roughly a month afterwards. Additional observers would document this first record including numerous photographs. Two years later Spencer and Doug Hardy would find another on 1 May 2011 in Norwich.
Dark-Eyed Junco “Oregon race” (Junco hyemalis oreganus) Three RSDs have been submitted however only one was accepted of this western subspecies. Susan Darrah and Liz Scharf’s report on their sighting on 4 March 2007 is the lone accepted record.
Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) There are five accepted Rare Species reports. Sue Wetmore’s report of a bird mistakenly live trapped in Brandon on 11 May 1999 is the first state record. In 2014, two accepted reports both in May with the birds found in Castleton on the 4th, Charlotte on the 14th. Both reports included photographs.
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) One Out of Season report provided by David Hoag documenting his observation on 13 November 2005 in Grand Isle, with his report including photographs.
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) Six accepted records. William Norse’s report dated 14 September 1973 of his sighting in Winhall is Vermont’s first.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) Bea and Cassius Guyette’s report including photographs from Vergennes, covering the 18th to the 25th of December 1987, is the first Out of Season record. Four other OOS records have been accepted since.
Black-Headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) Six records have been reviewed by the VBRC however only Bonnie Bochan’s report dated 18 May 1978 in Newfane has been accepted.
Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea) Of the 22 reports received, beginning in 1911 and ending in 2011, only 8 have been accepted with 1 of those accepted only as hypothetical. The first accepted record is dated 8 September 1984 and was submitted by Andrew Stout documenting his sighting in Norwich on 13 to 15 May 1984, with his report including a photograph.
Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) The first accepted report, accepted as hypothetical, was submitted by Karl & Winifred Droge describing a pair in Danby on 11 to 13 May 1993. The first fully accepted record included a photograph taken by Susan Klein in Shelburne on 6 May 1997. Five additional accepted reports are on file.
Dickcissel (Spiza americana) Marion Metcalf caught and banded the first accepted record in Plainfield on 25 October 1980. An additional 15 accepted records after 1980 through 2012. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation on this species, however Out of Season Reports are requested on sightings outside this bird’s migratory timeframes as shown on the Vermont State Checklist.
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) Four accepted Out of Season Reports with the first sighted on 26 January 1991 by Sue & George Wetmore and Betty Barbaise in the town of Monkton.
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) William Meador’s report dated 2 May 1987 from Panton was accepted as hypothetical with the comment that Eastern x Western Meadowlark hybrids can sing either Species’ typical songs. The first fully accepted report is from 24 June 2015 with documentation provided by Ted Murin, Quin Ren, Allan Strong, Lisa Nawrocki, and Larry Haugh. Documentation included numerous photographs and sound recordings. Numerous other observers would enjoy this bird over its three week stay in Charlotte.
Yellow-Headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) Seven accepted reports. First report provided by Tom Striker and Bruce Flewelling of their sighting on 28 March 1981 in Ferrisburgh.
Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) Sally Laughlin and Betty Rist’s report dated 27 December 1985 in Plymouth is the first of seven Out of Season Reports accepted. Roy Pilcher, Sue & Marvin Elliott, and Mary Lou Webster provided the RSNR documenting their observation (photograph included) in Victory Basin WMA on 16 June 2010. The VBRC continues to request RSNRs confirming breeding in Vermont, but no longer requests Out of Season reports.
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) Only one accepted record of this western species. Michael Sabourin provided the report of a bird that remained in South Burlington from late November 1986 to 12 January 1987.
Boat-Tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) A single report from May 1983 was considered but not accepted by the VBRC due to insufficient documentation. This species is seen regularly as far north as coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island however north of South Carolina it has yet to be found inland more than 70 miles from the Atlantic coast.
Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) The VBRC received a single RSD covering five days in November 1997 in South Londonderry that was not accepted due to insufficient details. To date, there are no records appearing in ebird north of the mid-Atlantic coast.
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurious) 21 accepted records beginning with Annette Gosnell and Carol Powell’s report of a breeding pair with nest and young in South Pomfret on 23 May 1977. The VBRC no longer requests Rare Species Documentation or other reports during the Species’ normal breeding period in Vermont.
Streak-Backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus) The normal range of this species is from western Mexico south to Costa Rica. It frequently strays north into the southwestern United States post-breeding and there is a historical record during September 1993 from Malheur NWR in Oregon. The VBRC did not accept the single report of this species in Vermont from August 1994 in Addison.
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) Two Rare Species Documentation reports are accepted. Paul & Christine Bengtson’s report covering five dates from 16 November to 20 December 1987 in St. Johnsbury is the first state record. The report included a photograph.
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Eight Out of Season reports accepted. The first report is from Fran Howe documenting the bird’s presence on Spruce Street in Burlington between 6 and 23 December 1985.