Ontbirds subscribers,


Yesterday, on a tip from a friend (who prefers to remain anonymous for now), I 
checked and confirmed the presence of a Phainopepla in a residential 
subdivision in south Brampton.


Let me preface this by saying that this is a quiet subdivision with many senior 
residents, so I believe it would be in the birding community's interest to try 
to be good ambassadors for our hobby when searching for this bird. Parking is 
limited in the area (so be sure not to block driveways), and views into area 
backyards are not easily possible (nor ultimately necessary). It can be found 
by staying on local sidewalks. This bird has already been adequately and amply 
photo-documented, so walking around this neighbourhood with long telephoto 
lenses and cameras is something I think can be deemed an unnecessary intrusion 
on the residents of this subdivision. Spotting scopes would also seem 
unnecessary and are probably best left in the car as well. The experience in 
this instance will likely dictate whether I ever report future rarities via 
Ontbirds, so observers have a personal interest in trying to keep our impact on 
local residents as benign as possible please.


The bird in question is a male near the end of transition to first basic 
plumage. The head, nape, breast and shoulders are entirely glossy-black, with 
the belly, flanks and undertail retaining much of the brownish-gray juvenal 
plumage. The irides are carmine red. The striking white flash of the primaries 
is readily visible, even at great distance (although a little less bright white 
than in adult males). It will be helpful to know the call of this species, as 
the bird was fairly vocal when I observed it yesterday. The bird has been 
present since at least Monday morning when it was initially discovered. It is 
typically seen flying from house to house feeding on berries in the various 
trees and bushes of front yards, so I will not centre out any particular 
address, so as not to encourage vigils in front of any particular house. While 
I watched the bird, it was seen concentrating on feeding on berries in barberry 
bushes, juniper, wild grape and mountain-ash (in that order) - there would 
easily appear to be adequate food for it for some time.


>From the corner of Dixie Rd. and Steeles Ave. E. in Brampton, go north on 
>Dixie Rd. Turn right (east) at the second street after going under the railway 
>bridge, which is Birchbank Rd. Take Birchbank Rd. east to Avondale Blvd. Turn 
>left (north) on Avondale Blvd. Continue north on Avondale Blvd. to Addington 
>Crescent (the third right turn north of Birchbank Rd.). Turn right onto 
>Addington Crescent. The bird was readily seen in front yards on the east-west 
>portion of Addington Crescent.


Good luck in finding this striking rarity.


Glenn Coady




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