Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 2013

Return to the Birdlists Reports Menu    Return to the Birdlists Home Page

Compiled by Peter Robinson

The following people submitted list information for 2013: Timothy Becker, Chuck Berthoud, Gerry Boltz, Fritz Brock, Brian Byrnes, Bruce Carl, Chuck Chalfant, Dick Cleary, Skip Conant, Michael David, Michael Defina, Dave DeReamus, Jim Dunn, Bill
Etter, Devich Farbotnik, Mike Fialkovich, Ian Gardner, Carl Garner, Deb Grove, Greg Grove, Al Guarente, Barb Haas, David Hawk, Jonathan Heller, Margaret Higbee, Frank Izaguirre, Chad Kauffman, Bill Keim, Andy Keister, Aarlene Koch, Dave Kyler, Trudy Kyler, Alex Lamoreaux, Wayne Laubscher, Ronald Leberman, Sandy Lockerman, Geoff Malosh, Paul Mauss, David McNaughton, Bill Oyler, Martin Page, Nick Pulcinella, Brian Quindlen, Brian Raicich, Dan Richards, Jim Ridolfi, Peter Robinson, Michael Schall, Matthew Spence, Russ States, Shannon Thompson, David Trently, Aden Troyer, Neal Troyer, Mark Vass, Eric Witmer, and Matt Wlasniewski.

There are now 86 birders whose Pennsylvania Life Lists are 300 or more, an increase of seven from 2012. Twenty-three have PA Life Lists of 350 species or more, and six are at 375 or more, both the same as last year. There are 10 birders at the 300 mark or
more in the PA Life List-Unassisted category, one more than last year. This year’s high PA Annual List was David McNaughton’s 286.

A new high Lancaster county life list was achieved Eric Witmer, thanks to the Bahama Woodstar. His 332 breaks his tie at 331 with Tom Garner. New county annual highs were Michael David’s 177 for Blair, Ronald Leberman’s 240 for Crawford, Bill Oyler’s 228 for Franklin, Tim Becker’s 244 for Lebanon, and Michael Schall’s 210 for Monroe.


The winner for PA bird of the year voting is Black-chinned Hummingbird, with 34 points. The MacGillivray’s Warbler was a close second place with 32 points. In third place with 31 points was the Bahama Woodstar. Snowy Owl came in fourth with 22 points. A few people mentioned that they were saving their Snowy Owl vote for 2014. It was surprising that the Tropical Kingbird (8 points) and the Shiny Cowbird (5 points) did not score higher, but only a handful of people got to see the Kingbird, and the Adams County homeowner who photographed the Cowbird was the only observer.

A total of twenty four species received votes. Hoary Redpoll got 11, including three votes for first place. Marbled Godwit and the Tropical Kingbird earned eight points. With five points were Little Gull and the Shiny Cowbird. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was in at four points. Three points were garnered by Hudsonian Godwit and Red Crossbill. Red Phalarope, Black-necked Stilt, Great Horned Owl, Nelson’s Sparrow, and Common Redpoll each acquired two points. At one point were Trumpeter Swan, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Rufous Hummingbird, Pink-footed Goose, Black Rail, Black-legged Kittiwake, and White-winged Crossbill.


Birders were invited to submit comments on birding in Pennsylvania in 2013, along with their votes for Bird of the Year (BOTY). 

Each birder who submitted comments is shown below, with their current PA Life List total, the species they added to their PA Life List in 2012 in parentheses (if less than 10), their top 3 votes for BOTY, and any comments submitted. Birders are listed in no particular order.

Aden Troyer, 324. BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird. Eric Witmer, 374. (Prairie Falcon, Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird) BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler.

Carl Garner, 306. BOTY: Black-chinned Hummingbird, Red Crossbill, Trumpeter Swan.

Paul Mauss, 234. BOTY: MacGillivray’s Warbler, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Snowy Owl.

Timothy Becker, 309. BOTY: MacGillivray’s Warbler, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Snowy Owl.

Ronald Leberman, 318. BOTY: Hudsonian Godwit, Snowy Owl, Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

Arlene Koch, 365. BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Snowy Owl.

Neil Troyer, 274. (Franklin’s Gull, Little Gull, Western Grebe)
Sandy Lockerman. BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Snowy Owl.

Dick Cleary, 323. (Pink-footed Goose, Cave Swallow, Red Phalarope, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Connecticut Warbler, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, MacGillivray’s Warbler) BOTY: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Red Phalarope, Snowy Owl.

Gerry Boltz, 266. BOTY: MacGillivray’s Warbler, Great Horned Owl, Rufous Hummingbird.

Michael Defina, 205. Two noteworthy unassisted birds this year: Snowy Egret and
Nelson”s Sparrow.

Al Guarente, 370. (Bahama Woodstar, Blackchinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler) BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Mark McConaughy, 299. BOTY: MacGillivray’s Warbler, Snowy Owl.

Brian Quindlen, 240. BOTY: Tropical Kingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Snowy Owl.

Dave DeReamus, 379. (Black-chinned Hummingbird)

Frank Izaguirre, 211. BOTY: Marbled Godwit, Little Gull, Snowy Owl. Perhaps my most thrilling moment of Pennsylvania birding this year was when my fiancée Adrienne and I drove to Scotia Barrens to find our life Golden-winged Warbler. After searching quite a while we came upon a stunning male moving slowly through some trail side bushes. The bird approached us remarkably closely, and I got excellent photographs. We then noticed a Brewster’s Warbler, no doubt its mate, in the tree above us. Not wanting to disturb the birds any further, we left soon after. As we walked to the car, I scanned the photos in my camera, and was astonished to notice a chick partially obscured by leaves in the photos! How could I not have seen it? We ran back to the scene and after at least a minute or two of searching found an unbelievably well camouflaged chick perched calmly just a foot away from us. The male had been feeding it. We left almost immediately after, not wanting to imperil this threatened bird. Hopefully, next year a young Lawrence’s Warbler will return to Scotia Barrens and be detected by birders in the area.

Chad Kauffman, 315. BOTY: MacGillivray’s Warbler, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Pinkfooted Goose.

Ian Gardner, 299. BOTY: MacGillivray’s Warbler, Nelson’s Sparrow, Hoary Redpoll.

Chuck Chalfant, 358. (Tropical Kingbird, Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, MacGillivray’s Warbler) I got lucky with all five of the great rarities on the Pennsylvania list for 2013. Can’t believe I chased and got all five!

Fritz Brock, 349. On November 12 four of us were counting hawks at Bake Oven Knob on the Blue Mountain, when we observed an Anhinga flying south over the ridge. To my knowledge it was the first record for that species for both Lehigh and Carbon counties.

Ken Lebo, 369. (Black-chinned Hummingbird). BOTY: Black-chinned Hummingbird, Blacknecked Stilt, Black Rail. New Berks life species— Black-necked Stilt.

Geoff Malosh, 363. (Black-legged Kittiwake, Black-chinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler) BOTY: Little Gull, Marbled Godwit, Black-legged Kittiwake. Certainly the top event of the year for me, and one of the top birding events of my lifetime, was the twelve-gull-species day at Presque Isle on 24 March, which included my state first Black-legged Kittiwake and over 30 Little Gulls. Both the count of twelve species in one day and the numbers of Little Gulls at Presque Isle this spring, which maxed out with a single day count of 52 on 27 March, set new alltime records for Pennsylvania. The kittiwake also represented just the second spring record in Pennsylvania’s history and the first for storied Erie County. These two species garnered #1 and #3 votes from me for bird of the year. Wedged between them was a bird certainly among the most unexpected and puzzling finds anywhere in Pennsylvania this year: the Marbled Godwit in Allegheny County 20-21 December. Not only was that an unexpected first record for my home county, but it shattered the previous Pennsylvania late fall date for Marbled Godwit by more than a month. What in the world was that bird doing here?

Brian Raicich, 230. BOTY: Snowy Owl, Common Redpoll, White-winged Crossbill. At the start of 2013, I decided to do a Big Year in Chester County, where I’ve grown up and settled down. The experience not only gave me a number of state and county life birds, but I visited sites and habitats I had previously had not known to exist in Chester County. I have a greater appreciation for the land preservation efforts many conservation groups have put forth to protect these habitats and make them accessible to the public. After completing a Chester County Big Year, what impressed me the most was the number of great people I met in the field, joined me on trips, and helped me find many, many birds. It’s been said by others before but birders really are a great bunch of people.

Alex Lamoreaux, 314. BOTY: Hoary Redpoll, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Snowy Owl.

Nick Pulcinella, 362. (Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, MacGillivray’s Warbler) BOTY: Shiny Cowbird.

Michael Schall, 346. (Black-chinned Hummingbird) BOTY: Black-chinned Hummingbird, Snowy Owl, MacGillivray’s Warbler.

Bill Etter, 328. BOTY: Hoary Redpoll, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Bahama Woodstar. There were more Hoary Redpoll reports in early 2013 than I can remember since I started paying attention. Snowy Owl would be another good choice but I’m hoping it will be Bird of the Year for 2014…

Mike Fialkovich, 344. (Marbled Godwit, MacGillivray’s Warbler) BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Tropical Kingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird. I missed the MacGillivray’s years ago near Reading, and Marbled Godwit was special because it was in my home county. The Marbled Godwit was totally unexpected in Allegheny County—and in the month of December! Finally, after many years and many misses, I finally got a new Erie County bird— Western Grebe.

Devich Farbotnik, 382. (Black-chinned Hummingbird, Tropical Kingbird) BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Tropical Kingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Jonathan Heller, 364. (Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher) BOTY: Black-chinned Hummingbird.

Dan Richards, 294. BOTY: Hoary Redpoll, Snowy Owl, Red Crossbill. The Hoary Redpoll showed up at my feeder. I found the Snowy Owl myself in Clearfield County, and discovered a large reliable flock of Red Crossbills that allowed numerous birders to visit and enjoy.

Andy Keister. BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, 2) Snowy Owl, 3) MacGillivray’s Warbler. It was tough to leave out Black-chinned Hummingbird, but Bahama Woodstar is just too rare and the Snowy Owl irruption too massive.

Shannon Thompson, 342. (Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Marbled Godwit) BOTY: Marbled Godwit, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

Bill Oyler, 305. (Willet, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Marsh Wren, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Hoary Redpoll) BOTY: Black-chinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Hoary Redpoll.

Barb Haas, 385. (Bahama Woodstar, Blackchinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler) BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler.

Bruce Carl, 345. BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Black-chinned Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler.

Matt Wlasniewski, 335. BOTY: Snowy Owl, Rufous Hummingbird, Bald Eagle (continuing to thrive). I will remember 2013 as the year when the “Komito-Levantin-Miller” wannabes hit the Pennsylvania birding scene. Fueled by eBird postings, they scorched the state’s highways racing to their next “checked-off” species and left in their wake proper birding etiquette, irritated landowners, bad publicity, and frazzled birds. I am hoping that 2014 brings a new appreciation for birds as wonders of Nature that have struggled—and are still struggling—to survive poisons, shotguns, and land development. Let’s not add birders to the list of hazards birds have to fight against.

Peter Robinson, 378. BOTY: Bahama Woodstar, Shiny Cowbird, Tropical Kingbird. My Bird of the Year votes went to the three new state birds that I did not get to see. I went, but could not get there soon enough to see the Woodstar and Kingbird. The Shiny Cowbird was a “one day wonder” that was also reported belatedly. The Bahama Woodstar got my #1 vote because of the incredible rarity—only a handful of U.S. records, and all of them in southeastern Florida. The Shiny Cowbird was very much unexpected. The Tropical Kingbird was also quite unexpected, but flycatchers do have a reputation for wandering.