First State Records

The first time a bird is found in the state is an exciting time indeed. It is important to document these rarities carefully, so that they may be included in the Official State List.

035-01-1999 Great Shearwater

First state record

Great Shearwater — Berks County; Sep 10, 1999. Photo by Scott Weidensaul. This bird was found grounded in Richmond Township, Berks County on September 9, 1999, after the passing of Hurricane Dennis. It was found in the parking lot of East Penn Manufacturing in Lyons, PA, by Sandra Montagner and taken later that day to Kutztown Animal Hospital, where Lee Simpson called Scott Weidensaul. Scott went to the clinic the following day, confirmed the identification, and Scott and Lee transported it to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Delaware, which was the only rehab facility that had seabird experience. At the time, the shearwater was emaciated and unresponsive. Despite the care it was given, it died September 14th. The skin was prepped as a museum specimen at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and placed in the collection of the Reading Public Museum. This bird represents the first photo-documented record for Pennsylvania.

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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

004-01-2007 Yellow-billed Loon

First state record

Yellow-billed Loon — Wormleysburg, Dauphin County; May 4, 2007. Photo by Cameron Rutt. This near-breeding plumaged bird was found and photographed by Cameron Rutt. It was seen by many happy birders until the early morning of the 7th. The striking yellow bill with its straight upper mandible was extremely obvious. Also note the oval-shaped collar on the side of the neck. Although this bird was seen from Wormleysburg, Cumberland County, the bird was actually seen on the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County. This bird represents the 1st accepted record for Pennsylvania!

Yellow-billed Loon — Wormleysburg, Dauphin County; May 5, 2007. Photo by Jason Horn. This photo captures the loon holding a crayfish in its bill.

Yellow-billed Loon — Wormleysburg, Dauphin County; May 6, 2007. Photo by Christopher Bohinski. Another nice photo of the 1st accepted record for Pennsylvania.


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Posted in Accepted

096-01-2010 White-faced Ibis

First state record

White-faced Ibis — near Newburg, Cumberland County; March 21, 2010. Photos by Frank Haas. This first-year bird, found by Vern Gauthier and confirmed by Ramsay Koury, stopped in a flooded field at the intersection of Duncan and Mud Level Roads. Unfortunately, it left late that afternoon. Especially note the distinctive red eye in addition to the bird’s obvious downcurved bill. This bird represents the 1st record for Pennsylvania!


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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

873-01-2007 Scott’s Oriole

First state record

Scott’s Oriole — Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County; February 23, 2007. Photos by Bob Moul. More photos of this bird can be found on Bob Moul’s website. This bird represents the 1st documented record for Pennsylvania!


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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

490-01-2010 Anna’s Hummingbird

This bird began visiting the feeder of Renee Gery in late October! It was caught and banded by Scott Weidensaul and Sandy Lockerman on November 21st, who verified that it was an adult female Anna’s. This bird represents the 1st record for Pennsylvania!

Anna’s Hummingbird — near Shartlesville, Berks County; November 22, 2010. Photo by Geoff Malosh.

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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph

496-01-2009 Allen’s Hummingbird

Allen’s Hummingbird — near Leola, Lancaster County; December 12, 2009. Photos by Scott Weidensaul. This bird began visiting the feeder of Debra Raudenbush in late August! It was caught and banded by Scott on December 12th, who verified that it was an adult female Allen’s. This bird represents the 1st record for Pennsylvania!

Here’s is a photo of the spread tail. Note the very narrow, leftmost feather, which is ‘R5’. The ‘R5’ feather on a Rufous is wider than that of an Allen’s. Also note the third feather from the right (the sixth feather from the left), which in this photo represents ‘R2’. Note that there is just the faintest hint of a ‘notch’ on the outer (right) side of the tip of that feather. A Rufous would show a much more noticeable indentation there. You can see why these birds are almost impossible to tell apart in the field.

Allen’s Hummingbird — near Leola, Lancaster County; December 13, 2009. Photos by Geoff Malosh. Here are some of Geoff’s photos of the same bird above.



Allen’s Hummingbird — near Leola, Lancaster County; December 13, 2009. Photos by Bob Moul. Here are some of Bob’s photos of the same bird above.



Allen’s Hummingbird — near Leola, Lancaster County; December 24, 2009. Photos by Howard Eskin. Here are two of Howard’s photos of the bird.

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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

010-01-2009 Western Grebe

First state record

Western Grebe — near Hustons Mill, Cumberland County; February 14, 2009. Photos by Dale Bicksler. This bird was found by Barry & Jennifer Horton. In addition to the slender white neck, these photos show the black cap extending down below the eye and the greenish-yellow bill that make this a Western and rule out the similar-looking Clark’s Grebe.

Western Grebe — near Hustons Mill, Cumberland County; February 14, 2009. Photos by Geoff Malosh. In addition to the slender white neck, these photos show the black cap extending down below the eye and the greenish-yellow bill that make this a Western and rule out the similar-looking Clark’s Grebe. Also note the much longer neck and longer, thinner bill than that of the Red-necked Grebe on the left.

Western Grebe — near Hustons Mill, Cumberland County; February 15, 2009. Photo by Eric Witmer. In addition to the slender white neck, the black cap extending down below the eye and the yellow-green bill make this a Western and rule out the similar-looking Clark’s Grebe.

Western Grebe — near Hustons Mill, Cumberland County; February 15, 2009. Photos by Steve Dale. These two photos were taken from the Route 114 bridge.

Western Grebe — near Hustons Mill, Cumberland County; February 16, 2009. Photos by Bob Moul. In addition to the slender white neck, the following two photos nicely show the black cap extending down below the eye and the greenish-yellow bill that make this a Western and rule out the similar-looking Clark’s Grebe. Note the nice comparison between the Western Grebe and the Red-necked Grebe on the left. Note the wide, dark strip down the back of the neck that denotes a Western Grebe. Here the bird has its wings extended.


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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

351-01-2007 Slaty-backed Gull

Slaty-backed Gull — Tullytown Landfill near Tullytown, Bucks County; December 21, 2007. Photo by Tom Johnson. Note the bird’s bulky body and darker mantle color and broader white crescent area than that of the surrounding Herring Gulls.

Slaty-backed Gull — Van Sciver Lake near Tullytown, Bucks County; December 22, 2007. Photos by Devich Farbotnik. Again, note the bird’s darker mantle color than that of the surrounding Herring Gulls. The dark smudge through the eye is barely visible here. This photo shows the bird’s wing pattern. The underside of the bird’s right wing is directly above the light head of the gull flying towards the camera. The upperside of the bird’s left wing is just to the left of that. Note the subapical spots (“string of pearls”) on the bird’s left wing and the broad, white trailing edge of both wings.


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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

390-01-2007 Long-billed Murrelet

Long-billed Murrelet — Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County; December 14, 2007. Photos by Jason Horn. This bird was found and first photographed by Jason Horn. It was seen by many happy birders until dark. Note the white scapular bar, the white on the vent, the length of the bill and, especially, the lack of a white collar on the dark nape that help distinguish it from Marbled Murrelet. This bird represents the 1st documented record for Pennsylvania!

This flight photo was also taken by Jason Horn. Note the mostly dark underwings and no hint of any type of a collar.

Long-billed Murrelet — Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County; December 14, 2007. Photo by Gerry Dewaghe. This fine photo also shows the white scapular bar, the white on the vent, the length of the bill and the lack of a white collar on the dark nape.

Long-billed Murrelet — Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County; December 14, 2007. Photo by Elaine Crunkleton. Again, note the white scapular bar and the white on the vent.


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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed

562-01-2006 Fork-tailed Flycatcher

This bird represents the 1st documented record for Pennsylvania!

Fork-tailed Flycatcher — Morrisville, Bucks County; June 4, 2006. Photos by Frank Haas.


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Posted in Accepted, Class I - Photograph, Completed