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From Western Birds Vol. 4 No. 2, 1973




Steven Speich and Theodore A. Parker III


This is a report of noteworthy occurrences of birds in Arizona during 1972. These records were submitted to the Arizona Bird Committee and have been officially approved by it. All descriptions and supplementary material (photographs, etc.) pertaining to these records are on file in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

The Arizona Bird Committee was created in early 1972 to improve the quality of bird records and to further our knowledge of bird distribution in the state. To this end the committee compiled and published a Field Checklist of Arizona Birds, which provides a general indication of the status of bird species in the state. Further, all species considered accidental, most rare species, and some others are marked with an asterisk (8) on the checklist to indicate that details are needed to substantiate any sightings. The committee also specified in the checklist that information pertaining to any species found outside of its normal range or time of occurrence in the state should be submitted to the committee. Hopefully, the information in the checklist will stimulate active birders to report their noteworthy observations. In addition, the checklist provides the format to follow when writing a description.

The Arizona Bird Committee consists of six members: Russell P. Balda, Bill Harrison, Gale Monson, Stephen M. Russell, Steven Speich, and Robert Weitzman. Submitted records are circulated among the committee members and accepted as valid only upon unanimous agreement. This report contains records of birds seen in 1972 and accepted by the committee.


Wood Stork, Mycteria Americana. One seen and photographed near Tombstone, Cochise Co. on 24 December by D. Schmoldt, G. Lesser, and R. Willmarch was only the second record for Arizona.

Black Brant, Branta nigricans. One found by H. Fetter on the El Camino del Cerro sewage holding pond northwest of Tucson, Pima Co. on 29 December was the second record for the state. It was seen by many observers including G. Monson and R. Witzeman. The first record was of a bird shot by a hunter on Mittry Lake, Yuma Co. on 23 December 1970. The dead bird was photographed, and one wing was saved and deposited in The Bird Collection, University of Arizona (UA 10313; Austin et al. 1972). To confirm the identifications the wing and photographs were sent to Roxie C. Laybourne (USNM) who determined (pers. comm.) that specific identification could not be made from the wing alone. The photographs, however, show the diagnostic characters of B. nigricans.

Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus. An adult observed at close range in Ramsey Canyon, Huachuca Mtns., Cochise Co. on 20 February by Parker, B. Broadbooks, and S. Suffel was the third record for the state. The bird was in pine-oak woodland at an elevation of 5,300 feet. The first record was of a specimen obtained at the Southwestern Research Station, Chiricahua Mtns., Cochise Co. on 22 September 1956 (Phillips et al. 1964). The second (UA 5531), herewith reported for the first time was found dying at Oracle and River Roads in Tucson, Pima Co. on 7 February 1956 by M. Whiting.

Laughing Gull. Larus atricilla. Two individuals were seen in Phoenix, Maricopa Co. on 7 an d8 June by R Bradley, S. Demaree, and B. Burch. This species is a casual visitor to the state, perhaps from the Gulf of California.

Heermann’s Gull. Larus heermanni. Two individuals were observed: one adult on 9 February on the El Camino del Cerro sewage holding pond northwest of Tucson, Pima Co. by B. Deuel; another was observed and photographed on 11 May by M. Linshaw at Kinsley Ponds, Arivaca, Pima Co. This species is a casual visitant to the state from the west, probably the Gulf of California. Most recent records have been since 1969 (Phillips et al. 1964; Huber 1971).

Black-billed Cuckoo. Coccyzus erythropthalmus. An adult was carefully observed on 26 August as it perched in a netleaf hackberry (Celtis reticulata). It then flew into nearby vegetation along Sonoita Creek in the Nature Conservancy Sanctuary southwest of Patagonia, Santa Cruz Co. This observation by M. Robbins is the first of this species in Arizona.

Groove-billed Ani. Crotophagus sulcirostris. Two individuals seen along the Salt River, Phoenix, Maricopa Co. from 21 December to 8 April 1973 by S. Burge and R. Witzeman were photographed. This is a casual fall straggler to southeastern Arizona (Phillips et al. 1964).

Lucifer Hummingbird Calothorax lucifer. A female was seen on 1 April by B. Deuel in Guadalupe Canyon Cochise Co. The bird was also seen during the second week of April by Parker. An individual was photographed in the same location by A. Meyerfeld (1972) on 14 July 1971. This Mexican highland species is casual in southeastern Arizona.

Eastern Kingbird. Tyrannus tyrannus. One was seen by R. Bradley and P. Norton along the San Pedro River near Hereford, Cochise Co. on 7 July. Though this species is a rare summer visitant and may nest in northern Arizona (Phillips et al. 1964), it is very rare n the southeastern portion of the state. The date is also unusual.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Muscivora forficata. Two records: one adult on 2 May through 4 July at Gilbert, Maricopa Co. was seen by F. Thompson and V. Plumlee and photographed; another adult near Cochise Stronghold, in the Dragoon Mtns., Cochise Co. on 1 October by W. Anderson was also photographed. The species is a casual summer visitant chiefly to the southeastern part of the state (Phillips et al. 1964).

Varied Thrush. Ixoreus naevius. Prior to 1972 there were only two records, both winter, of this western bird in Arizona (Phillips et al. 1964). Four new records are reported here. Two birds, a male and female were found on 11 December inorthwest Phoenix, Maricopa Co. by D. Stejskal. They were last reported on 17 December. A male was found by Parker and Speich on 8 December in the Evergreen Cemetery, Tucson, Pima Co. It was seen repeatedly by numerous observers until 5 March 1973. The fourth bird, a female, was found 15 December by B. and F. Weidman in a cemetery in Nogales, Santa Cruz Co. It was last seen on 16 December.

Wood Thrush. Hylocichla mustelina. One found on 23 January in Himmel Park, Tucson, Pima Co. by G. Gregg was captured, banded, and photographed in early February by Speich. This is apparently the only winter record west of Texas and is the fourth record for Arizona.

Worm-eating Warbler. Helmitheros vermivorus. One was carefully observed near South Fork campground, Cave Creek Canyon, on the east side of the Chiricahua Mtns., Cochise Co. on 20 May. The bird was found by M. Whitmire, identified by R. Shook, and seen by 12 others including R. Witzeman. It was foraging low in deciduous vegetation in the canyon bottom above the campground (pine-oak woodland). This is the third record for Arizona.

Golden-winged Warbler. Vermivora chrysoptera. An adult male in nuptial plumage was seen by g. Monson on 26 July near Eagar, Apache Co. The bird was foraging in willows along the Little Colorado River. This is the second occurrence of this eastern species in Arizona. The first was of a bird found by E. Radke at Quitobaquito Springs, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Pima Co. on 2 November 1968 and collected the next day (Austin et al. 1972).

Black-throated Blue Warbler. Dendroica caerulescens. A male was seen in Madera Canyon, Santa Rita Mtns., Santa Cruz Co. on 30 May by F. Murdoch, W. Biggs, and M. Patterson. This eastern species is considered a casual transient in Arizona (Phillips et al. 1964).

Yellow-throated Warbler. Dendroica dominica. On 13 May C. Littlefield, T. Bancroft, and M. Robinson observed an adult male from 08:55 through 09:35 as it foraged in Fremont Cottonwoods (Populus fremonti) in Guadalupe Canyon, Cochise Co. This bird appeared to be D. d. albilora on the basis of the solid white lores. On 2 June an adult male of this species was observed and photographed by D. and B. McKnight in the Nature Conservancy Sanctuary southwest of Patagonia, Santa Cruz Co. Subspecific identification cannot be made from the photographs. This bird was also foraging in cottonwoods along the creek. These are the first documented occurrences of this eastern species in Arizona.

Bay-breasted Warbler. Dendroica castanea. One was found and photographed in color on 6 May by C. Pinckard at the Southwestern Research Station, Chiricahua Mtns., Cochise Co. It was seen and identified by Parker, E.L. Smith, and Speich on 7 May. The bird, an adult male in nuptial plumage, was last seen the morning of 8 May. This is the first record for this eastern species in the state.

Blackpoll Warbler. Dendroica striata. One observed on 14 October at Quitobaquito Springs, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Pima Co. by Parker and M. Robbins was the fourth state record. Quitobaquito Springs is a desert oasis and as such is a natural point of concentration for migrating birds.

Ovenbird. Seirus aurocapillus. An individual of this species was found by J. Witzeman on 23 December in Phoenix, Maricopa Co. The bird was also by three other observers. This constitutes the fifth state record and the first winter record of this straggler from the east.

Louisiana Waterthrush. Seirus motacilla. One present in Ramsey Canyon from about 20 November 1971 to 26 February 1972 was first found by C. McMoran and was seen by many others, including Parker, Speich, and G. Monson. It was photographed by Speich. There is but one previous record for the state, a specimen (Monson 1968).

Scarlet Tanager. Piranga olivacea. A male in winter plumage seen at Quitobaquito Springs, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Pima Co. on 21 October by Parker and M. Robbins is the fourth state record.

Painted Bunting. Passerina ciris. An adult male was seen by M. and S. Speich 2 October at Kino Springs development northeast of Nogales along the Santa Cruz River, Santa Cruz Co. This one of but a few recent records in the southeastern portion of the state (Phillips et al. 1964).



We are especially indebted to those people who submitted their well documented observations to the Arizona Bird Committee. We thank the committee and observes for allowing us to use these observations.




Austin, G.T., E.L. Smith, and S. Speich. 1972. New Arizona bird records. Calif. Birds

3: 43-44.

Huber, L. 1971. First records of Heermann’s Gulls (Larus heermanni) for Arizona. Auk

88: 929.

Meyerfield, A. 1972. A record of the Lucifer Hummingbird in Arizona. Calif Birds 3: 16.

Monson, G. 1968. The Arizona state bird-list, 1964-1967. J. Arizona Acad. Sci. 5: 34-35.

Phillips, A., J. Marshall, and G. Monson. 1964. The birds of Arizona. University of

Arizona Press, Tucson.


Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, and 521 N. President Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17603.