Hammond’s Flycatcher

Hey guys, welcome back. I’ve talked a bit in the past about vagrant birds. These are birds that, for one reason or another, get blown way off course and are found well outside their natural range. Today’s bird is one such example. Another confusing flycatcher in the Empidonax genus, the Hammond’s flycatcher it rarely found much east of the Rocky Mountains. Yet, there one was, in New York City’s Central Park in early December of 2017. The bird stuck around for about a week if memory serves. After that is anyone’s guess. So far outside its range was it that it was only the third time ever one had been seen in New York State (and I believe the only time one was seen in NYC proper.)

Hammond’s flycatcher in Central Park. 3rd state record for New York. Central Park, NYC

In terms of their typical behavior and ID, I can’t pull too much from personal experience. They are your typical flycatcher that is best identified by sound rather than sight. Although it looks a lot like eastern counterparts the willow and Acadian, it’s most likely to be confused with the dusky flycatcher. Its song is distinctive and has three notes to it, as opposed to the two-note songs of most of its look-alike cousins. Although telling it from the dusky, even by voice, can be difficult. They prefer conifer forests in the upper elevations of the west during breeding season, and winter throughout Mexico and Central America. Perhaps on my next trip out west, I’ll finally see one of these guys in their natural habitat! Up next is one of my favorite Atlantic Coast birds, the Northern Gannet! See you all then!

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