17 July 2009

Brown-backed Solitaire - Huachuca Mountains

Yesterday, the Camp Chiricahua group comprised of young birders from across the country located a Brown-backed Solitaire (Myadestes occidentalis) in Miller Canyon above Beatty's Guest Ranch in the Huachuca Mountains above Sierra Vista, Arizona. If accepted, this will be a first ABA record of this species. Recordings and photographs were obtained, and soon after Dave Jasper (the camp's leader) got the word out. A few other people detected the bird, some seeing it at the original location and others hearing it's beautiful song.

In Mexico, the Brown-backed Solitaire is a denizen of the Pine-Oak mountains from Sonora south through Honduras, also occuring in the mountains of eastern Mexico. All previous records from the United States have been dismissed as feral birds, as it is one of the most common caged birds in Mexico due to its incredible song. Recordings of this song can be heard here (scroll down below the map): http://xeno-canto.org/species.php?query=brown-backed+solitaire

This species is regarded by many to be 'the most spectacular in the New World.' Hopefully the species will finally be accepted on the ABA checklist.

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