For two weeks, a wierd hen has perched in Brooklyn over the treetops of one of many Three Sisters Islands in Prospect Park Lake. It reveals no indicators of heading again to the place it probably got here from in the South.
Meet the anhinga, a big water hen with a snaky neck that has joined different high-profile vagrant birds in latest years by making a uncommon look exterior of its typical migration vary.
The hen’s title comes from the Tupi Indian language of Brazil and means “satan hen.” And in accordance to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it is not from round right here: Anhingas in the United States typically vary from the Southern states alongside the gulf coast to Texas, stretching into the Carolinas in the summer time.
The Prospect Park anhinga is the primary satan hen noticed in Kings County, and solely the second sighting in New York City since 1992. When Radka Osickova first noticed it with the Brooklyn Bird Club, she could not imagine her eyes.
“What sort of a bizarre heron is that over there?” she recollects asking.
Researchers say that this rogue anhinga did not merely veer astray, however that it was profiting from a habitat that was newly obtainable to it due to rising temperatures.
“What we’re seeing right here is probably going an increasing inhabitants from the earlier typical vary of the species in the southeastern United States,” stated Andrew Farnsworth, a researcher on the Cornell lab. He added that the anhinga “is a robust flier and fairly a migrant, so it is not essentially a shock that is taking place.”
Longtime bird-watchers have famous different uncommon feathered guests in Prospect Park in latest months.
“Some of the species embrace summer time tanager, yellow-throated warbler, Acadian flycatcher (now nesting in the park) and others,” stated Tom Stephenson, a Brooklyn birder, in an e-mail. “We’ve additionally seen numerous uncommon Western species in Brooklyn, together with Townsend’s warbler and Swainson’s hawk.”
Kenn Kaufman, a hen knowledgeable and discipline information writer, says we’re seeing a broad sample rising with Southern birds in search of recent nesting territories.
“In evolutionary phrases, these far-flung wanderers is likely to be considered as testing the boundaries,” Mr. Kaufman stated.
The anhinga in Brooklyn could also be by itself, however there have been earlier indications that the species had been making forays a lot farther north. Days earlier than the sighting in Brooklyn, Timothy Wing noticed one other anhinga exterior his automotive window in Rome, NY, about 180 miles north of New York City.
“Out of the nook of my eye, I noticed what I assumed was a double-crested cormorant sitting on a log in the canal on my left,” stated Mr. Wing, a hen fanatic. “The colour for the top and neck was a lot lighter than a typical cormorant, and it did not appear proper.”
He pulled over and took a more in-depth look with a spare set of binoculars he retains in his automotive.
“To my amazement, I noticed a number of anhingas sitting on a log, and plenty of others up in the bushes alongside the other financial institution of the canal,” he stated.
After taking photographs along with his cellphone, Mr. Wing confirmed his sighting with a good friend. They counted 22 anhingas and logged them into eBird, the net hen statement database.
“It was really an unbelievable sight to behold,” he stated.
Mr. Kaufman shares Mr. Wing’s enthusiasm for the uncommon encounter, whereas noting the rising variety of anhingas seen in the Middle Atlantic States.
“Viewed in isolation, the flock upstate appears completely astounding,” Mr. Kaufman stated. “And it’s, in the context of New York State information.”
Since the preliminary sighting in Brooklyn, throngs of delighted birders have visited Prospect Park hoping to catch a peek.
“While we’re excited to see the anhinga in NYC, please watch from a distance and respect its house,” stated Sarah Aucoin, the chief of training and wildlife for the New York City parks division. “It is probably not from round right here, however it’s nonetheless a wild animal for us to respect.”