[CT Birds] ovenbird - early

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 3 13:08:46 EDT 2010

Since I broached this topic in a general way in a post just a day or two ago, I better respond. It is early for an Ovenbird. The earliest date listed by Zeranski & Baptist in Connecticut Birds is April 19. Based on more than 20 first-arrival dates in my own notes (which include CT & northern NJ) I'd say the expected first arrival window is about 4/28-5/2. As is the case with most first arrivals, those dates bring a few birds, with the general arrival coming a bit later.
So, yes, these reports are more than 2 wks ahead of the record and about 3 wks ahead of average. I certainly can't comment on the individual "hearings"  but Sean was right to raise the question. Although Ovenbirds are common in season, they're rare at this time of year and should be treated as such. That was the point of my recent post - when you hear a common bird out of season, make every effort to see it. I've tracked down birds that weren't what I thought they were more times than I can count.
This is all complicated by the fact that Ovenbirds have wintered or attempted to winter in CT on at least 3 occasions. Given the extreme rarity of that behavior, it's probably best to deal only wth expected arrival dates at this time of year. I would think the chance of an early bird having wintered locally is very remote. However, they do winter regularly in Florida (relatively close compared to many spcies), which only adds to the interest in these early reports and to the desirability of documenting them. Can't wait to see what the next few days bring.
Greg Hanisek

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