Berkeley Painted Redstart - viewing advice

Dominik Mosur

Since we have gotten on the topic of unhappy property owners I thought I'd throw in my two cents regarding this bird.

I found the Painted Redstart to be extremely cooperative and confiding on Sunday (11/17) in a STREET TREE in front of 3109 Lewiston, no more than 30-40 yards from "the oak", on property that birders were today asked not to go onto.  I was able to obtain excellent views of this bird at nearly eye level from distances of 15-20 feet as well as voice recordings. Others who showed up around the same time (7:30-8a.m.) were able to see the bird as well. We watched the bird from the edge of the street, maybe 6-10 feet off the sidewalk. Reports later in the day indicated that the bird returned to this same tree (a birch) several more times.

When I first got to the neighborhood I too planted myself beneath "the oak", the bird never showed for me there but soon started calling away at the aforementioned location. 

I just wanted to remind people that birding isn't just about standing stock still and staring at a one tree. We are free to move around, look and listen for the bird's calls. You may even find a bit more satisfaction in "finding" the bird yourself at a different spot (since it's obvious at this point that it moves around and isn't always in "the oak")

As for "our quarry moving off in a few days", not necessarily. The only other Painted Redstart I've ever seen in the state was also in a residential neighborhood in Southern California where it had wintered for I believe 4-5 consecutive years! So lets keep the good will of the locals and property owners in the Elmwood 'hood, who knows what wonderful rarity may show up there next time.

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco

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