Thursday, November 3, 2011

Black-legged Kittiwake in AZ!

Yep, that's right!  On Halloween Chris McCreedy found this kittiwake at a small pond in Casa Grande, Arizona.  Freaky!  There are only 15 previous accepted records of this species in the state, and only 3 this century!  After work today, I headed out to see it.  I made it just in time to snap a few photos before the sun set.  Some observers are concerned that the bird comes within feet of people and has been seen "panting" and eating bread thrown to the ducks.  It did come within 5 feet of me on the water, but I observed it flying quite normally around the pond.  There is some talk on the AZ birding listserv about looking into capturing the bird and taking it to rehab.  Friday strong winds are expected in the area up to 50 mph.  These winds are predicted to blow towards the Gulf of California.  It will be interesting if the bird sticks around.

Update 11/08/11: The kittiwake continues in the same location today.  Upon more careful observation, the kittiwake is actually using the bread as bait to catch the fish that come to the surface to eat it.  Very resourceful!  It seems to be doing fine and will not have to be rehabilitated.

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InfoNatura: Animals and Ecosystems of Latin America [web application]. 2007. Version 5.0 . Arlington, Virginia (USA): NatureServe. Available: (Accessed: November 4, 2011 ).
map from original post


  1. How wonderful to add another bird to your life list and such a lovely one at that. Great job on the photos!

  2. Hey, for whatever it's worth, that range map you used for B-l Kittiwake has some accuracy issues. General range is OK, but the summer versus winter ranges in the north Pacific/southern Bering are incorrect, as the species is a permanent resident (abundant breeder) in the southern Bering, Aleutians, and Gulf of Alaska, not just winter only. Again, for what it's worth--which isn't too much. Where did this map come from? Of course, that doesn't affect the bird in Casa Grande! --Paul Lehman

  3. @Mia- Thanks!

    @Paul- Thanks for the info. It was either this map from or one from that only showed a very limited summer range. If you know of a better one online, please let me know. Thanks again!