At this time of year, many of us pause and reflect on the year that was, focusing on the ups and downs as well as everything that made us tick during those twelve months. The birding world did not disappoint this year, leaving us with many rare sightings, species on the rise as well as additional conservation efforts geared toward our feathered friends.

Below is a compilation of some of our very favourite stories we read about this past year, in case you might have missed them. Have something interesting to add? Let us know in the comments below!

March 2015: The re-discovery of the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest – This hummingbird species was long feared extinct since its last recorded sighting in 1946, until researchers Carlos Julio Rojas and Christian Vasquez of the Colombian bird conservation group; Fundacion ProAlves located the bird in the mountains of Northern Colombia.

March 2015: Researchers confirm that the Blackpoll Warbler flies non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean – In March of 2015 researchers reported “irrefutable evidence” indicating that Blackpolls complete the marathon flight of about 2,200-2,700 km in just two or three days on their way to South American locations such as Venezuela and Colombia.

June 2015: Peregrine Falcon removed from Endangered and Threatened Species List – The state of Illinois officially removed the Peregrine Falcon from its Endangered and Threatened Species List and can now be found throughout the state.

peregrine-falcon

July 2015: The Magnificent Hummingbird makes an appearance in British Columbia – This hummingbird species is not normally seen anywhere north of Arizona and New Mexico, but birders in the Kamloops, BC area caught a rare glimpse of this bird for the first time on Canadian soil.

September & October 2015: Britain sees two North American species – In September, an Acadian Flycatcher was recorded in the UK for the first time in history on the beach at Dungenesss, Kent. The following month, birders spotted a Wilson’s Warbler 30 years to the day after the previous sighting of this bird in Britain.

acadian-flycatcher

Acadian Flycatcher photo: Audubon.org

November 2015: Plenty of western birds spotted in the east – One of the most action-packed fall seasons in recent history for displaced birds in north America. Locally, we saw a Bullocks Oriole close by in Pakenham, Ontario, New York City spotted a Painted Bunting, Cave Swallows appeared in Quebec City and Franklin’s Gulls were spotted across the eastern seaboard.