North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO3-NO4 2019

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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N O R T H A M E R I C A N B I R D S 252 First North America Record of Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) at Gambell, Alaska First North America Record of Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) at Gambell, Alaska PAUL E. LEHMAN • 11192 PORTOBELO DRIVE, SAN DIEGO, CA 92124 • LEHMAN.PAUL@VERIZON.NET PETER PYLE • THE INSTITUTE FOR BIRD POPULATIONS, P. O. BOX 1346, POINT REYES STATION, CA 94956 • PPYLE@BIRDPOP.ORG NIAL MOORES • BIRDS KOREA, 1010, SAMIK TOWER 3-DONG, NAMCHEON 2 DONG, BUSAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA • NIAL.MOORES@BIRDSKOREA.ORG JULIAN HOUGH • 80 SEA STREET, NEW HAVEN, CT 06519 • WWW.NATURESCAPEIMAGES.WORDPRESS.COM GARY H. ROSENBERG • P. O. BOX 91856, TUCSON, AZ 85752 • GHROSENBERG@COMCAST.NET Abstract We document the first record for Alaska and the Western Hemisphere of a Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), a first-fall bird pres- ent at Gambell, St. Lawrence Island 3-22 October 2017. It was primarily in juvenile feathering but showed evidence that the preformative body-feather molt had com- menced. Based on details of structure and plumage and following review of a series of images and specimens by those with experi- ence of potential confusion species, all other Old World shrikes—including Brown Shrike (L. cristatus) and Turkestan Shrike (L. phoe- nicuroides)—were eliminated from consider- ation, the former primarily by wing and tail morphology and the latter by plumage fea- tures among juveniles. Red-backed Shrike is a long-distance migrant that breeds no closer to North America than western Siberia and winters primarily in southern Africa. We speculate that it may have reached Gambell via misorientation in an approxi- mately 180º opposite direction from normal migratory paths. A bird identified after an extensive review as a hybrid Red-backed × Turkestan Shrike had occurred previously in Mendocino County, California, in March–- April 2015; but the Gambell shrike showed no evidence of hybridization. Introduction Herein we document the first North American record of a Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collu - rio), at Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, 3–22 October 2017 (fig. 1). On 3 October, Sue Bryer, Paul Lehman, and Gary Rosenberg were birding in the "far boneyard" at Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. The several boneyards at Gambell are midden sites Figure 1. The Gambell, Alaska, Red-backed Shrike photographed on 10 Oct 2017. Photo by © Sue Bryer. that provide exposed, rich soil, some degree of protection from the wind, and (by late summer and early autumn) a relatively lush growth of two species of Artemisia. Known colloquially as wormwood or sage, this veg - etation grows to a height of approximately a half-meter or more. The food and cover pro - vided by the middens are attractive to both Asian and North American landbird migrants, including many vagrant species. Rosenberg flushed a mid-size brownish passerine out of a digging pit immediately in front of him; the bird then perched very close by on the rim of the pit for a second or two before flush - ing again and flying a long distance away. As it departed, he yelled "Brown Shrike!" Bryer and Lehman turned to see the bird flying away. It then perched for an extended period of time on a fence some 100–125 yards dis - tant. It indeed resembled a Brown Shrike (L. cristatus) in general features but was much

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