Precursor to a Weird Summer?

What’s up with the birds in North Dakota?

In the last two weeks, birders have seen, and in some cases, photographed, eight different species of birds not seen in the states for years or decades or, as it turns out, ever.

These include sightings of a mountain plover (not seen in North Dakota since the 1930s), a Eurasian wigeon, two great black-backed gulls, an anhinga, a mountain chickadee, a gray jay, a red-shouldered hawk and an eastern meadowlark.

Eight accidentals in two weeks is remarkable. “Typically, maybe one or two a month over a year. To see eight in two weeks is pretty unusual,” Corey Ellingson, president of the Bismarck-Mandan Bird Club and the reporter for the North Dakota Birding Society, said to the local media.

The anhinga may be the most unique sighting. “The fact that it’s here is pretty incredible. It would be the first state record, if it’s passed by the records committee,” Ellingson said. There was one other report from eastern North Dakota in the 1990s, but “there weren’t enough details to pass it,” he added.

To read the entire Bismarck Tribune article, find it here.

In a year that has already had extraordinarily warm weather, is this upswing in unusual bird sightings giving us a clue that there might be more or more interesting cryptid sightings throughout the Northern Hemisphere? Certainly in the past, unusual sightings of snowy owls lower south in their range, cranes out of their usual flyways, and other sightings of accidentals have sometimes been documented before or during cryptid encounters.

Watch those northern woods and skies, as the trees bud and the spring peepers begin to sing.


Update: For a commentary and extension of this post, please click on “Thunderbird Spotting.” Thank you.

One Response

  1. Loren Coleman
    Loren Coleman April 13, 2006 at 11:45 am |

    See an image of the water bird known as the anhinga, by clicking on its Latin name, here: Anhinga anhinga. They are only rarely north of Texas, although, as that site notes, they have been seen in Wisconsin.

    The bird from the Amazon that has babies who are born with claws on their wings to climb back into the nest is the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin).

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