Roseate spoonbill sighting in Saline is a first in Michigan

Chicken-watchers close to and much are flocking to Saline, hoping to catch a glimpse of a uncommon customer.

Final Friday, a roseate spoonbill was noticed within the Koch Warner Drain throughout the road from the Division of Pure Sources’ Saline Fisheries Analysis Station.

That is the primary file of a roseate spoonbill in Michigan, stated Molly Keenan, communications and advertising coordinator at Michigan Audubon in an e mail to the Free Press.

Michigan DNR biologists imagine the fowl both escaped from a neighborhood zoo or is very confused, in line with a Fb submit from Saline police. 

Roseate spoonbills are usually discovered on the Gulf Coast, within the Caribbean and in Central and South America, however they’ve been noticed in neighboring states, stated Benjamin Winger, curator of birds on the College of Michigan Museum of Zoology and an assistant professor within the Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“It was actually solely a matter of time earlier than one was documented in Michigan,” he stated.

Within the late summer season, it is regular for younger water birds corresponding to spoonbills, herons and storks to wander, Winger stated. 

“Generally, they wander a bit too far,” Winger stated.

“It is powerful to be a younger fowl. Not solely do you must survive, however you must discover a place to breed the place you are not going to get bullied by your siblings, and even your dad and mom as a result of there’s competitors for nest websites. Younger birds are likely to wander loads and search for that first nest website,” he stated.

Beth Field, a dispatcher on the Saline Police Division, stated there may be nonetheless a gentle stream of individuals coming to see the fowl. Whereas the preliminary stream of holiday makers generated some concern from motorists, there have been fewer issues with latest guests. The division has additionally arrange cones for the drivers and bird-watchers, Field stated

Guests continued to assemble Tuesday in hopes of catching a glimpse of the wayward fowl.

On Monday, Katherine Hull, 36, made the journey from Grass Lake after her son, Joseph, requested to go see the spoonbill for his twelfth birthday. Hull stated bird-watching is a household pastime that began together with her and her grandfather. 

After they arrived, Hull and her kids had been instructed they’d have to enterprise off the street to see the fowl.

“My son stated, ‘let’s go, Mother, it is my birthday,’ ” Hull stated.

Armed with binoculars, Hull and her two kids braved a hilly, overgrown pathway into the woods, battling mosquitoes and tripping hazards in the hunt for the spoonbill. 

“We get again there and you might see the herons, and you might see each fowl however that one. So that you’re standing there. We won’t stand right here within the mosquitoes, and my son was like, ‘There it’s!’ It got here from across the nook and simply type of joined everyone,” she stated.

“You had so many individuals enthusiastic about one thing like that, and the way neat to expertise that together with your children,” Hull stated.

Some bird-watchers journeyed from out of state to see the spoonbill. Sally Most, 67, of Fairmount, Indiana, stated she and her husband have been bird-watching for about 10 years. After listening to concerning the fowl on Fb, the retired couple hit the street.

“We had seen some in Florida earlier than, however this can be a rarity for Michigan,” Most stated. “We wish to search for the rarer birds. After a time, you see lots of the identical birds, and then you definately see one thing uncommon. Right here is one thing uncommon.”

The couple lastly caught sight of the fowl Monday evening, after a bunch of bird-watchers acquired permission to look at the fowl from a close-by property. After staying the evening in Ann Arbor, the couple noticed the spoonbill once more early Tuesday morning.

“I took over 300 photos of it final evening,” Most stated. “We’re going dwelling pleased campers,” she stated.

“It is fairly uncommon and it is thrilling,” Winger stated. “It is a spectacular fowl. Actually completely different than something we get to see right here in Michigan, so it is actually enjoyable that lots of people acquired to see it.”

Contact breaking information intern Kyle Davidson: kdavidson@freepress.com. Comply with him on Twitter @jrndavidson.

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