2023 has been an interesting yr for vagrant chicken sightings. Some notable incidents embrace the obvious growth of as many as dozens of Anhingas into New York, a first-of-its-kind go to by a Flame-colored Tanager in Wisconsin, a Pink-footed Goose in Michigan, and a Hoopoe in Northern Eire. Whereas fascinating, vagrancy is pretty frequent. All of those sightings afforded native birders with a uncommon alternative, however the prevalence of vagrancy, particularly throughout the migration season, will not be itself a uncommon factor. However what about two uncommon sightings of the identical species in fully totally different states?
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That’s what has occurred this month in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Each states have welcomed an surprising customer by the identify of the Limpkin. Limpkins are tall wading birds described as wanting like one thing in between a crane and a rail. They’re extra widespread in South and Central America, however they do have a restricted vary in tropical parts of the Southern United States, particularly Florida.
The July seventh sighting of a Limpkin in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was the primary Limpkin sighting on file in all of Pennsylvania. The chicken was sighted at Center Creek Wildlife Administration Space in Clay Township, bringing throngs of birders from everywhere in the state, keen so as to add a historic tropical customer to their life lists.
Birders in Colorado would possibly relate to that feeling. Two days prior on the fifth of July, a Limpkin was seen in El Paso County in Colorado close to Ramah State Wildlife Space, simply outdoors of Colorado Springs. Identical to the Pennsylvania Limpkin, this sighting generated pleasure amongst Colorado birders trying to spot an uncommon customer.
So why did a Limpkin present up in each of those states, far outdoors of its typical vary? The reply may need one thing to do with rainfall. Limpkins are marsh birds. Though they aren’t thought of migratory, they’ve been identified to depart their territories in periods of drought. Whereas as a lot as 80% of Florida was thought of “abnormally dry” this spring, El Paso County in Colorado had a a lot wetter season. It’s attainable that each birds have been fleeing the dry circumstances in the hunt for appropriate wetlands.
As local weather change reshapes our pure habitats, it’s attainable that occasions like this can grow to be extra commonplace. Pure habitat ranges are shifting for a lot of birds which is able to undoubtedly convey new and unpredictable challenges for a lot of species.
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