Rare bird sighting in Ketchikan
November 09, 2012
Heinl's photograph represents the first documented record for Alaska of the Ash-throated Flycatcher.
"Like many birds found far out of their normal range, this bird is a young bird that was hatched this year, and basically migrated in the opposite direction that it should have migrated," Heinl wrote in an email to SitNews.
Heinl said two "birders" from Fairbanks actually traveled to Ketchikan specifically to see this bird and add it to their Alaska list. A "birder" is a person who identifies and studies birds in their natural habitats or a bird watcher.
While the Ash-throated Flycatchers are fairly common throughout most of the western United States and Mexico, they would be rare in Ketchikan and southeast Alaska. Heinl's photograph represents the first documented record for Alaska of the Ash-throated Flycatcher.
Heinl said, the Ash-throated Flycatcher nests in Mexico and the western United States north to south-central Washington, and these birds spend the winter in Mexico. They are about 8" long and like to sit on perches in open areas where they scan for flying insects and catch them by "sallying" (flying out, catching the insect in mid-air, and flying back to a perch). Heinl said the Ash-throated Flycatchers are very similar to some other closely related species that are basically grayish on the upperparts, pale gray on the chest, pale yellow on the belly, and have variable amounts of rusty color on the wings and tail.