Biologist Dan Cooper had a unique sighting in California recently. He saw a Coccyzus americanus.
He had studied the yellow-billed cuckoo in Kern County in the 1990s. But no one had spotted the dove-like relative of the woodpecker in the San Gabriel Valley since 1952.
He looked up and saw the yellow beak and the long tail with white spots underneath.
“It’s the kind of thing you see and there is just no doubt about it,” he said. “He sat up in the top of the tree for like a minute. It’s like seeing an old friend.”
The rare sighting last week has set off biologists and birders around the area and has brought new attention to the Whittier Narrows, and specifically a 4-mile stretch of the Rio Hondo.
. . .
While Cooper, who was raised in San Marino and now lives in Culver City, is unsure if the yellow-billed cuckoo lived near the river or was just passing through, the sighting reinforced his belief that long-gone animals are coming back to the San Gabriel Valley.
“Since the 1990s, we’ve seen a pretty dramatic return of these riparian species,” Cooper said.
More, see Whittier Daily News