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A Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society

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A Checklist for The Birds of Harford County

Drawing of a Wood Thrush

Published by the
Harford Chapter of the
Maryland Ornithological Society

4th Edition
September 2005


This checklist is a general guide to bird abundance in Harford County, MD. Harford County, located at the northeast corner of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, offers a diverse habitat for both breeding and migratory bird species. With the bay and the Susquehanna River on the eastern border, and Little Gunpowder Falls on the western border, there is a variety of habitats. Four state parks including Susquehanna and Gunpowder, as well as Swan Harbor Farm, Eden Mill Park, Harford Glen, and Conowingo Dam offer excellent birding opportunities.

A total of 306 species have been recorded in Harford County. This includes historical and unconfirmed species, which are listed separately at the end of the checklist. Confirmed and probable breeding species are indicated by an asterisk (*); historical breeding species (i.e., prior to 1958) are indicated by a dagger (). Abundance ratings are based on records provided by experienced Harford County birders. Some species, marked with a pound sign (#), are more prevalent than here indicated in the restricted-access areas of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Breeding records are provided by the Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlases of 1983-1987 and 2002-2005. Common bird names and the taxonomic order are in accordance with the 45th Supplement (2004) to the American Ornithologists' Union Checklist.

For more specific migration times, refer to "Field List of the Birds of Maryland, 3rd Edition" by Marshall J. Iliff, Robert F. Ringler, and James L. Stasz, May 1996.

The seasonal occurrence and relative abundance of birds in their suitable habitat are coded as follows:

s - Spring (Mar - May)
S - Summer (Jun - Jul)
F - Fall (Aug - Nov)
W - Winter (Dec - Feb)

a - abundant Numerous and widespread.
c - common Likely to be present and observed.
u - uncommon Likely to be present, but not routinely observed.
o - occasional Occurs only a few times during a season, or restricted in distribution
r - rare Not observed every year
x - accidental Exceptionally observed outside of its typical geographic range.

    s S F W
  Greater White-fronted Goose r   r r
  Snow Goose u   u o
  Cackling Goose r   r r
  Canada Goose * a c a a
  Brant     r  
  Mute Swan * u u u u
  Tundra Swan u   u o
  Wood Duck * c c c o
  Gadwall u   u o
  Eurasian Wigeon     x x
  American Wigeon u r u o
  American Black Duck * u o u c
  Mallard * a c a a
  Blue-winged Teal u   u x
  Northern Shoveler r x o r
  Northern Pintail u x u r
  Green-winged Teal u   u r
  Canvasback u x u u
  Redhead r x o o
  Ring-necked Duck c x c o
  Greater Scaup o   o o
  Lesser Scaup c r c u
  Harlequin Duck x     x
  Surf Scoter r   r x
  White-winged Scoter x x r  
  Black Scoter     r  
  Long-tailed Duck o   o o
  Bufflehead u x u c
  Common Goldeneye u   u u
  Hooded Merganser u r u u
  Common Merganser c r c c
  Red-breasted Merganser o x o u
  Ruddy Duck o x o o

    s S F W
  Ring-necked Pheasant * r r r r
  Ruffed Grouse       x
  Wild Turkey * u u u u
  Northern Bobwhite * # r r r r

    s S F W
  Red-throated Loon r   o r
  Pacific Loon     x  
  Common Loon u x u u
  Pied-billed Grebe * u o u o
  Horned Grebe o x o r
  Red-necked Grebe r   x r
  Eared Grebe x   x  

    s S F W
  American White Pelican x x x  
  Brown Pelican     x x
  Double-crested Cormorant c u c o
  Great Cormorant     r r

    s S F W
  American Bittern o x o  
  Least Bittern * u u u  
  Great Blue Heron * c c c c
  Great Egret u o u x
  Snowy Egret o o o  
  Little Blue Heron o o u  
  Tricolored Heron x x    
  Cattle Egret * r r r  
  Green Heron * c c c x
  Black-crowned Night-Heron* u o u u
  Yellow-crowned Night-Heron x x x  
  White Ibis     x  
  Glossy Ibis o r r  
  Black Vulture * u u u u
  Turkey Vulture * c c c c

    s S F W
  Osprey * c c c r
  Mississippi Kite x      
  Bald Eagle * c u u c
  Northern Harrier u x u u
  Sharp-shinned Hawk u r u u
  Cooper's Hawk * u u u u
  Northern Goshawk r   x r
  Red-shouldered Hawk * u u u u
  Broad-winged Hawk * u o u  
  Red-tailed Hawk * c c c c
  Rough-legged Hawk r   r r
  Golden Eagle x   r r
  American Kestrel * u o u u
  Merlin r   o r
  Peregrine Falcon o r o o

    s S F W
  Black Rail r x    
  King Rail * # r r r  
  Virginia Rail * o o o x
  Sora u x u  
  Common Moorhen r x r x
  American Coot u r u c
  Sandhill Crane x   x  

    s S F W
  Black-bellied Plover o o o x
  American Golden-Plover     r  
  Semipalmated Plover u o u  
  Killdeer * c c c u
  American Avocet x      
  Spotted Sandpiper c o c  
  Solitary Sandpiper c o c  
  Greater Yellowlegs u o u x
  Willet     x  
  Lesser Yellowlegs u o u  
  Upland Sandpiper r x r  
  Whimbrel o r r  
  Marbled Godwit     x  
  Ruddy Turnstone o   r  
  Red Knot x   x  
  Sanderling r r r  
  Semipalmated Sandpiper u o u  
  Western Sandpiper x r o  
  Least Sandpiper u o u
  White-rumped Sandpiper r x r  
  Baird's Sandpiper x   r  
  Pectoral Sandpiper o x o  
  Dunlin o   u r
  Stilt Sandpiper r   r  
  Buff-breasted Sandpiper     x  
  Short-billed Dowitcher r r r  
  Wilson's Snipe u x u o
  American Woodcock * u o u r

    s S F W
  Laughing Gull o o u r
  Franklin's Gull     x  
  Little Gull r     x
  Black-headed Gull r   x r
  Bonaparte's Gull c x u u
  Mew Gull       x
  Ring-billed Gull a c a a
  California Gull x     x
  Herring Gull c u c c
  Thayer's Gull     x r
  Iceland Gull x     r
  Lesser Black-backed Gull o x o o
  Glaucous Gull x     r
  Great Black-backed Gull c u c c
  Black-legged Kittiwake       x
  Least Tern * u u r  
  Caspian Tern u o u  
  Black Tern r r o  
  Common Tern r r o  
  Forster's Tern u o c x
  Royal Tern x   x  
  Sandwich Tern     x  
  Black Skimmer     x  

    s S F W
  Rock Pigeon * a a a a
  Mourning Dove * a a a a
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo * c u c  
  Black-billed Cuckoo * o r o  

    s S F W
OWLS (8)
  Barn Owl * r r r r
  Eastern Screech-Owl * c c c c
  Great Horned Owl * c c c c
  Snowy Owl       x
  Barred Owl * u u u u
  Long-eared Owl       r
  Short-eared Owl r   r r
  Northern Saw-whet Owl o   o o

    s S F W
  Common Nighthawk u r u  
  Chuck-will's-widow * # r x    
  Whip-poor-will * # r r r  

    s S F W
  Chimney Swift * c c a  
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird * u u u  
  Belted Kingfisher * u u u u

    s S F W
  Red-headed Woodpecker * r r r r
  Red-bellied Woodpecker * c c c c
  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u x u u
  Downy Woodpecker * c c c c
  Hairy Woodpecker * u u u u
  Northern Flicker * c c c c
  Pileated Woodpecker * u u u u

    s S F W
  Olive-sided Flycatcher r   x  
  Eastern Wood-Pewee * c c c  
  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher r x o  
  Acadian Flycatcher * c c c  
  Alder Flycatcher x x    
  Willow Flycatcher * u u u  
  Least Flycatcher r   o  
  Eastern Phoebe * c c c o
  Great Crested Flycatcher * c u u  
  Eastern Kingbird * c c c  

    s S F W
  Loggerhead Shrike x x x x
  White-eyed Vireo * c u c  
  Yellow-throated Vireo * u u u  
  Blue-headed Vireo u   u  
  Warbling Vireo * u u u  
  Philadelphia Vireo x   r  
  Red-eyed Vireo * c c c  

    s S F W
  Blue Jay * a c a a
  American Crow * a a a a
  Fish Crow * c c c u
  Common Raven     x  

    s S F W
  Horned Lark * u u u u
  Purple Martin * u c c  
  Tree Swallow * a c a r
  Northern Rough-winged Swallow * u u u  
  Bank Swallow * u u c  
  Cliff Swallow * o r o  
  Barn Swallow * a a a  

    s S F W
  Carolina Chickadee * c c c c
  Black-capped Chickadee r x r r
  Tufted Titmouse * c c c c
  Red-breasted Nuthatch o   o o
  White-breasted Nuthatch * c u c c
  Brown Creeper u   u u
  Carolina Wren * c c c c
  House Wren * c c c r
  Winter Wren u   u u
  Marsh Wren * u u u r

    s S F W
  Golden-crowned Kinglet c   c u
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet c   c o
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher * c u c x
  Eastern Bluebird * c c c c
  Townsend's Solitaire x      
  Veery * u o u  
  Gray-cheeked Thrush o   o  
  Bicknell's Thrush r   r  
  Swainson's Thrush u   u  
  Hermit Thrush o   o u
  Wood Thrush * c c c  
  American Robin * a a a u
  Gray Catbird * c a c o
  Northern Mockingbird * c c c c
  Brown Thrasher * u u u r

    s S F W
  European Starling * a a a a
  American Pipit u   u o
  Cedar Waxwing * u u u u

    s S F W
  Blue-winged Warbler * u o u  
  Golden-winged Warbler r   r  
  Tennessee Warbler o   u  
  Orange-crowned Warbler       x
  Nashville Warbler o   o  
  Northern Parula * c u c x
  Yellow Warbler * c u u  
  Chestnut-sided Warbler u   u  
  Magnolia Warbler u   u  
  Cape May Warbler o   u  
  Black-throated Blue Warbler u   u  
  Yellow-rumped Warbler c   c u
  Black-throated Green Warbler u x u  
  Blackburnian Warbler o   u  
  Yellow-throated Warbler * u o o  
  Pine Warbler * u u u r
  Prairie Warbler * u u u  
  Palm Warbler u   u  
  Bay-breasted Warbler o   u  
  Blackpoll Warbler u r u  
  Cerulean Warbler * o o r  
  Black-and-white Warbler * u u u x
  American Redstart * c u c  
  Prothonotary Warbler * u u o  
  Worm-eating Warbler * u u o  
  Ovenbird * c u c  
  Northern Waterthrush u x u  
  Louisiana Waterthrush * u u o  
  Kentucky Warbler * u u o  
  Connecticut Warbler     r  
  Mourning Warbler r x r  
  Common Yellowthroat * c c c r
  Hooded Warbler * u o u  
  Wilson's Warbler o   o x
  Canada Warbler u   u  
  Yellow-breasted Chat * u u o  

    s S F W
  Summer Tanager * # x x x  
  Scarlet Tanager * c u c  
  Eastern Towhee * u u u u
  American Tree Sparrow o   o u
  Chipping Sparrow * c c c r
  Clay-colored Sparrow       x
  Field Sparrow * u u u u
  Vesper Sparrow o r o r
  Savannah Sparrow * u r u u
  Grasshopper Sparrow * u u o  
  Henslow's Sparrow   x    
  Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow x   x  
  Seaside Sparrow r      
  Fox Sparrow u   u o
  Song Sparrow * c c c c
  Lincoln's Sparrow r   r  
  Swamp Sparrow * u o u u
  White-throated Sparrow a x a a
  White-crowned Sparrow u   u u
  Dark-eyed Junco a x a a
  Lapland Longspur       r
  Snow Bunting x   r r
  Northern Cardinal * c c c c
  Rose-breasted Grosbeak u x u  
  Blue Grosbeak * u u u  
  Indigo Bunting * c c c x
  Painted Bunting x      
  Dickcissel * r x x  

    s S F W
  Bobolink * u r u  
  Red-winged Blackbird * a a a a
  Eastern Meadowlark * u u u o
  Yellow-headed Blackbird r   x r
  Rusty Blackbird o   o o
  Brewer's Blackbird x   x  
  Common Grackle * a a a a
  Brown-headed Cowbird * c c c c
  Orchard Oriole * u u u  
  Baltimore Oriole * c u c r

    s S F W
  Purple Finch o   o o
  House Finch * c c c c
  Red Crossbill     x x
  White-winged Crossbill     x x
  Common Redpoll r   x r
  Pine Siskin o   o o
  American Goldfinch * c c c c
  Evening Grosbeak r   r r
  House Sparrow * a a a a

Historical Species - Well-documented records exist, although not seen or reported since 1900.

Yellow Rail Thick-billed Murre

Unconfirmed Species - Reported by experienced birders in the season(s) indicated but awaiting formal review by the Maryland/DC Records Committee.

Trumpeter Swan (s,W) Sabine's Gull (F)
Anhinga (s) Cave Swallow (W)
Slaty-backed Gull (W)  

Please share rare findings with our members by e-mailing your information to:

Date_________________________ Time________________
Number___________ Age___________ Sex______________
Distance from bird____________ Duration___________
Optical Equipment_________________________________
Weather_________________________ Wind_____________
Bird-sun orientation______________________________
Head & Neck_______________________________________
Eyes & Lores______________________________________
Upper & Lower Mandibles___________________________
Legs & Feet_______________________________________
Additional Comments ______________________________
Sketch below:

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