Animals tend to appear in the strangest places when we least expect them. While some are a welcome sight, others may shock us with their presence and leave us scratching our heads wondering, “Huh?”
Recently, however, one bird provoked both responses in locals after being spotted at a nature reserve in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The bird in question is a Roseate Spoonbill, which is normally found in warmer climates in the south, typically near the Gulf of Mexico.
The Roseate Spoonbill is a large- to medium-sized waterbird with a sizeable bill shaped like a spoon, hence its name. They are pale pink in color and have bright pink shoulders with a yellow head. While they do forage for food in fresh water, they also gravitate toward brackish and marine waters, which makes its appearance in the Wisconsin park all the more curious.
Wisconsin birder Dexter Patterson was one of the lucky few to see the Spoonbill, and shared his excitement via a Twitter post accompanied by some stunning images.
Today was an unforgettable day! Spotted the first Roseate Spoonbill in over 150 years in Wisconsin with fellow birders! 😱 Such a rare visitor to the Badger State! Respectfully cropped images to cherish this incredible encounter. #WiscoBirder #BirdTwitter 📷🦩👐🏾🖤 pic.twitter.com/D61qDDcLDQ
— Dexter Patterson (Wisco Birder) 📷👐🏾🖤 (@wiscobirder) July 30, 2023
Reports explain that a Roseate Spoonbill has not been seen in the area for 178 years, and the last time one was spotted it was already dead. It still isn’t clear just how the bird made its way so far up north, or why it decided to land in Wisconsin, but some are speculating inclement weather may have veered it off course.
While it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event for Wisconsinites, the bird has also made several appearances in northeastern Washington D.C. in the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. In general, they’ve been reported in higher numbers in northern states in recent years, and they have been spotted in New England and New York.
Whatever caused its arrival, birders were thrilled to catch a glimpse of this special creature in Wisconsin and will no doubt cherish the experience for a long time to come.