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Rare Bird Sightings

Rare bird sightings apply to any bird that is rare to Manitoba or early arrivals in spring or lingerers in fall. This includes migrating birds passing through to nest in the north in late spring and early fall dates. Birds out of their normal range or unusually high numbers of species are of interest, too.

The book Finding Birds in Southern Manitoba provides information about which species can be expected to be seen in an area.

What can I report?

Reportable species are either a) Species not yet on the Manitoba list, or b) Species indicated as being reportable on the Manitoba list of reportable species. Do not report sightings of any species on the list not indicated as being reportable. Also, please ensure you read the notes concerning owls and Piping Plover.

Species occurring out-of-season (record-early or late-departing migrants) and exceptional numbers of any species can be reported to the Manitobabirds Group on Groups.io.

How do I report a rare bird?

Rare birds may be reported by email or mail.

These reports go to the Manitoba Ornithological Records Committee (MORC).

Reports should include number of birds seen, name(s) of the initial observer(s), date, time, location and directions to reach the site. The name and e-mail of the person making the posting should also appear within the body of the message.

When submitting your report, we encourage you to provide as much detail as possible, especially for Section 2: Description and Section 3: How were similar species eliminated? Please leave blank any details unknown or not observed. Reports and digital images should be e-mailed to R.F. Koes at rkoes@mts.net. Any other documentation (slides, prints, video recording, sound recording, field notes, etc.) can be mailed to:

R.F. Koes
135 Rossmere Crescent
Winnipeg, MB R2K 0G1

MORC Accepted Records 2003 – 2023

The Manitoba Ornithological Records Committee (MORC) was formed in the late 1970s  to evaluate the validity of rare bird reports. Records were considered confirmed if a specimen, identifiable photograph or sound recording, or convincing written report by two or more experienced observers existed. Well-described single observer sightings were considered unconfirmed, while all other reports lacking these criteria were regarded as hypothetical. Known or presumed escapees or released birds are not included in Manitoba’s official species list.

Initially the committee comprised four members, while currently it has six members: Christian Artuso, Carrie Braden, Paula Grieef, Rudolf Koes, Randy Mooi and Peter Taylor (retiring on completion of this update). Over a series of many virtual meetings, the group has recently compiled a list of records since the publication of The Birds of Manitoba (2003). Initially, records of birds for which there existed 20 or fewer reports were evaluated, but as of 2023 those with 10 or fewer are included. As bird populations change over time, previously reportable species may be deleted from the list. A prime example is the Eurasian Collared-Dove, now well established in Manitoba. Others are added as they appear for the first time or if populations have declined to such an extent that the species is now reported less than once in a decade. See The Birds of Manitoba for more details on categories and the assessment process.

This pdf table, MORC Accepted Records as of 2023, provides a summary of records assessed by the committee. More detailed information and photos are not provided here, though links to photos or descriptions are included or a reference to the North American Birds (NAB) article where the record was discussed.  Species headings in italic font have no confirmed records in Manitoba. Abbreviations used are:

ARU =  Autonomous Recording Unit
BoM =  The Birds of Manitoba (Manitoba Naturalists Society 2003)
HMANA =  Hawk Migration Association of North America
m. obs.  =  multiple observers
NAB =  North American Birds (journal)
s. ob.  =  single observer

This table shows 16 additions to the official Manitoba bird species list since the publication of The Birds of Manitoba: Swainson’s Warbler (2006), Black Vulture (2006), Broad-tailed Hummingbird (2006), Black-tailed Gull (2006), Black-throated Gray Warbler (2008), Painted Bunting (2008), Great-tailed Grackle (2013), Calliope Hummingbird (2013), Swallow-tailed Kite (2014), MacGillivray’s Warbler (2014), Black-throated Sparrow (2014), Mississippi Kite (2014), Common Crane (205), Ash-throated Flycatcher (2019), Bullock’s Oriole (2022), and Vermilion Flycatcher (2023).  The last 11 of these are new since the revised checklist of 2009, bringing the official checklist to 402 species.