YARMOUTH COUNTY - “Man of the Day, Bird of the Year” and “Mega Rarity” were some of the comments posted after Ervin Olsen shared his photo of a rare Tropical Kingbird with the Nova Scotia Bird Society via social media recently.
Olsen spotted the bird on the morning of Oct. 24 on the Cleveland Road in Yarmouth County then followed it to the Chebogue Point Road. By afternoon, other birders had joined him, hoping to add this rarity to their lifer list.
The Tropical Kingbird at Chebogue Point represents the first fully confirmed record of the species for Nova Scotia.
Alix d’Entremont, who (along with Murray Newell) represents Shelburne and Yarmouth counties for the Nova Scotia Bird Society, provided information on the typical habitat of the Tropical Kingbird.
The species breed from Arizona south to Argentina and on some Caribbean Islands, predominantly in the lowlands. Its habitat is open and semi-open country with trees, fences and hedges as well as residential areas. The kingbird forages primarily aerially and feeds on flying insects. It perches in open areas where it can view its prey. Once found, it flies off its perch in pursuit of prey then returns to the perch.
“It’s often said that birds in foreign habitats have a high likelihood of not surviving,” said d’Entremont.
“Research on what occurs to vagrant birds is currently being undertaken on Shelburne County's Bon Portage Island; which should shed some light on this little understood subject.”
Observation and documentation are extremely important when a possible rare bird is sighted.
D’Entremont says most birders have cameras and the recent explosion of cheap photography has done wonders for the understanding of the occurrence of birds.
“If the finder is unsure of the identification of a bird, photos can be shared immediately by smart phone with other birders,” he said.
Once a bird has been identified as a rarity, the finder can call nearby birders and should e-mail to the Nova Scotia Rare Bird Alert listserv, which will alert all that are subscribed.
Nova Scotia is one of the best places in Eastern North America for exciting birding and Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne Counties could be argued as being the top places in the province, says d’Entremont.
“Our islands such as Brier Island, Seal Island and Cape Sable Island are true birding hotspots where rarities are most common,” said d’Entremont.
Interested in birding?
An easy way to get a taste of the birding world is by joining the 'Nova Scotia Bird Society' Facebook Page and joining the society itself. The society organizes regular field trips throughout the province and non-members are welcome.
Cost for a one-year membership is $20.