Blue mockingbird: rare bird spotted in Douglas

Four sightings of the Blue Mockingbird have been documented previously in the U.S.Last week, a fifth sighting was confirmed at the Slaughter Ranch.

Photo (c) Michael Moore

Photo (c) Michael Moore

Slaughter Ranch is a park adjacent to the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Arizona. Richard Webster, a professional guide with Field Guides Birding Tours, identified the bird and notified the Ranch’s caretakers, Linda, Bob and Josh Kruger. The Blue Mockingbird is generally found in Mexico.

Since then, hundreds of birders have gone to the sight to see this rare bird and add it to their life lists. The Arizona Field Ornithologists Web site documented the discovery. Michael Moore, the AZFO’s photo documentation editor, took the picture above. Other photos of the blue mockingbird can be seen there.

This sighting comes after another rare bird, the tufted flycatcher, was spotted in the Chiricahua Mountains in May 2008.

While it’s tempting to rush down for a glimpse of the rare bird, please be aware of the code of ethics for birders that the American Birding Association established. Below is a condensed version. Click for the full list of the birders code of ethics.

American Birding Association’s Code of Birding Ethics (partial list)

1. Promote the welfare of birds and their environment.

1(a) Support the protection of important bird habitat.

1(b) To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming.

Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area;

Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, if there is a need for extended observation, photography, filming, or recording, try to use a blind or hide, and take advantage of natural cover.

Use artificial light sparingly for filming or photography, especially for close-ups.

1(d) Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.

2. Respect the law and the rights of others.

3. Ensure that feeders, nest structures, and other artificial bird environments are safe.

4. Group birding, whether organized or impromptu, requires special care.

Each individual in the group, in addition to the obligations spelled out in Items #1 and #2, has responsibilities as a Group Member.

Keep groups to a size that limits impact on the environment, and does not interfere with others using the same area.

4(e) Ensure everyone in the group knows of and practices this code.

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