Date: 10/26/19 7:47 pm
From: Josh <opihi...>
Subject: Re: [MASSBIRD] Pacific-Slope Flycatcher update
Linda and MassBirders,

The breeding range of this species extends all the way up to southeastern Alaska, where temperatures similar to what is forecast for tomorrow - 40s and rainy - are far from unknown, even during the summer.

Back when I lived in North Carolina, a “Western” flycatcher, considered by most observers (but not the state bird records committee) to be a Pacific-Slope, was found in the central part of the state in mid-January. It continued in the area until a winter storm hit that produced over a foot of snow, and temperatures down to just above zero. So, when weather like that moves in - as it usually does at some point here in MA - the flycatcher will be in trouble, should it still be in this neighborhood. But that seems unlikely. (If it sticks around that long, even *I* might get to see it!)

A few years after that flycatcher in NC, I was participating in a CBC in the same part of the state, and discovered an Empidonax. I wasn’t sure which species, but it turned out to be the state’s first Gray Flycatcher. It was seen on and off for nearly a month. While NC is certainly milder in weather than MA, the average January temperatures in Chatham County (where both of these Empids were found) are highs in the upper 40s, lows just below freezing; if anything, a bit colder than we’ll see tomorrow.

Point being, Empids from the western US are capable of surviving the occasional cold spell, perhaps even more so than our usual eastern breeding species. I would not bet this bird's still being around for, say, Thanksgiving; but Halloween seems entirely possible….

Good birding,


Joshua S. Rose, Ph.D.
Amherst, MA

Vice-president, Hampshire Bird Club

Northeast Chapter head, Dragonfly Society of the Americas

> On Oct 26, 2019, at 5:56 PM, linda pivacek <lpivacek...> wrote:
> Thanks to Joe Oliverio for finding this rarity, and so many others providing info/data. I'm hoping to look for this gem on Monday with mixed emotions.
> I have concerns about the survival of this "off course" migrant, the usual 90 degrees. Perhaps a feeder with worms could help this bird, however low temperatures may not make it possible for survival.
> Linda
> Linda Pivacek, Nahant.
> <lpivacek...>

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