The Asian Redwing
What is an Accidental Sighting ?
An accidental sighting , to birders , is the sighting of a bird specie that does not normally occur in the geographical area where the sighting takes place . These birds do not normally breed or occur where they are spotted . This occurs fairly frequently in the birding world .
From a spotting point of view , the main reason behind this event is the enormous and very active birding community . From the natural point of view , most of these events are the result of birds being blown off course by storms such as hurricanes and other wind and air current events .
The numbers of birders , both amateur and professional , is growing by leaps and bounds . This is partially the result of relatively inexpensive optics and the resurgence of people spending more time outdoors enjoying and observing nature .
Where do these Birds come from ?
To those of us who live on the North American continent , these avian visits are from 3 main areas .
Firstly , we have the Oceanic group which arrive mainly from the southern oceans , driven here mostly but not always by tropical storms .
Secondly , we have the Asian group , arriving here from western Europe and eastern Asia . Again , these birds arrive here because of major wind-stream or storm activity .
The third Accidental group wanders North from Mexico and Central America and are most often sited in the Southern United States .
Our latest visitor !
The Redwing , turdus iliacus , has been spotted in the Greater Victoria Area of British Columbia , Canada . This small bird , of the thrush family , resembles a robin and has been seen in the area for the past three weeks . It is native to Europe and Asia , mostly brown and is quite unremarkable in its appearance . It has prominent supercilia and deep rusty-red flanks and underwings . Upperparts are drab earth-brown , darker on the wings and tail .
This , however , is a very special event since this is only the second time this bird has been seen in British Columbia . It has most likely arrived from Asia , the victim of some wind-stream or storm activity . Its creamy strip above the eye and orange-red flank patches make it distinctive. This bird belongs to the family of Chats and Thrushes ( Turdidae ) .
In Europe , they are often seen in the open countryside in hedges , orchards and open grassy fields . Their main foods are worms and berries . This bird is between 20 – 24 cm long and weighs in the 46-80 g range . It is widespread from western Europe to eastern Siberia and parts of the the Kolyma Region . It is also accidental , in winter , to Japan and Korea .
Why Birders are so passionate !
Their incredible flying skills , the distances they travel , more colorful than the rainbow AND talk about sing like a bird ! … Is it any wonder that these wonders of Nature gather more and more humans to their flock (pun intended) , year after year .
As we grow more jaded from our use of gadgets and labor-saving devices , it’s reassuring to know that Mother Nature is always available with another episode of ” real life ” .