[CT Birds] ovenbird - early

Jamie Meyers ctredbird2 at comcast.net
Sat Apr 3 13:52:17 EDT 2010

Greg has beaten me to it with regard to comments on the timing of Ovenbirds.  However, those thinking they might be hearing an Ovenbird right now might well consider whether they are in fact hearing a Carolina Wren.  They are widespread in the state and have been singing their brains out for the past couple of weeks.  While the wren's pitch is higher and sweeter, the cadence is very similar to Ovenbird and it is not difficult to confuse the two songs.

My own "early bird" records are very consistent with Greg's, and I heartily second his suggestion to actually find the singer in cases such as this.  I am reminded of the instance when I heard a Wood Thrush song in mid-April one year.  Knowing the significance of such a record, I looked all over the place for the bird.  I was surprised to find that it was a starling performing a remarkable bit of mimicry!

Jamie Meyers
Canton, CT

----- Original Message -----
From: greg hanisek 
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Sent: Sat, 3 Apr 2010 17:08:46 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: [CT Birds] ovenbird - early

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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