Spoonbill Upper East-Coast Influx

Hello guys!

So recently, I noticed that there has been a large influx of Roseate Spoonbills into the upper states of the East-coast, including but not limited to; Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Most, as I’ve seen, are juveniles. Any ideas why this is? Could they possibly become naturalized in these areas in the coming years?

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Not only this year.

Here’s an article from 2018 that discusses this and some of the reasons behind it:

Here’s an article from this year about the current situation:

In short, while climate change definitely is making animals change their ranges, in these cases it appears to be some combination of breeding booms, storms/weather, and juveniles potentially getting confused.

An example of the latter case are the flamingos that occasionally wind up deep in Siberia, something that’s been documented since at least 1907.


Yeah! Sure! Everywhere except OHIO!!! Arg!!! They are in Michigan, too!

(I think there was one in Northwest Ohio last year for a few days.)

Signed: Frustrated Ohio Birder Who Wants To See One

A similar thing seems to be going on with Wood Storks as well, which was another species also mentioned in the 2018 Audubon.

Possibly Ibises as well as there seem to have been an unusual number of sightings of possible Ibis in Ontario lately (neither a Spoonbill nor a Wood Stork have yet been spotted in the province, but it is a big place with plenty of room to hide)

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Probably same thing as when flamingo make their way up north, there’re always birds that disperse that way, with bigger population there’re more such specimens.

Thanks for those links.

What happens to most of these birds? I’ve read that the “aerial birds” - frigate birds, gulls, etc. - that are swept up by storms frequently make their way back to their regular areas. But when it’s dispersing juveniles, if they don’t find survivable habitats do they die? Which would mirror what happens with carolina wrens.

I’m really hoping I get to see a Connecticut vagrant, as there was one that came up a week ago and I never got the chance to see it ;/

I’ve asked that question myself. Are the majority of “rarities” that get birders excited when they show up in some atypical location and habitat, way out of usual range, really “doomed vagrants”?

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Vagrants who are off course east/west have a better chance, their instincts to head south will kick in.

Birds pushed north or coastal specialists are likely in more trouble

Depending on species, more needs species has to survive less chances it will, plus many staying vagrants are ill or weak, look at all those dead or killed Ross’s Gulls or that Black Hawk from the last year.

ooh maybe one will come to vermont, though it wouldn’t last long into our fall much less winter.

Probably. There is a reason the species does not normally occur there. As evidence, think of species that have been documented to show up repeatedly as vagrants in a given area, yet never become established there.

Incidentally, many years ago (before the internet), I read an article about tropical fishes having the same problem – vagrants coming north in the summer when the water is warm, especially influenced by the Gulf Stream, only to die out as winter comes on.

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