Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan

Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan by Bill VanderMolen

Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan by Bill VanderMolen

The Detroit Free Press reports that bird-watchers are flocking to Saline in hopes of seeing this rare roseate spoonbill:

This is the first record of a roseate spoonbill in Michigan, said Molly Keenan, communications and marketing coordinator at Michigan Audubon in an email to the Free Press.

Michigan DNR biologists believe the bird either escaped from a local zoo or is very confused, according to a Facebook post from Saline police.

Roseate spoonbills are typically found on the Gulf Coast, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America, but they have been spotted in neighboring states, said Benjamin Winger, curator of birds at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“It was really only a matter of time before one was documented in Michigan,” he said.

In the late summer, it’s normal for young water birds such as spoonbills, herons and storks to wander, Winger said.

“Sometimes, they wander a bit too far,” Winger said.

I’m not gonna definitively tell you to believe the zoologist over the DNR, but I am gonna look hard at the DNR & ask if they remember their decades of denial around cougars in Michigan.

Bill took this photo at Washtenaw County Wilderness Park. You can see another angle (with an egret) right here & see 211 more feathered finds in his Bird Life List gallery on Flickr.

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2 thoughts on “Roseate Spoonbill in Michigan

  1. Well, the question is this: Did this particular bird just “wander a bit far,” or is this just a preview of what’s to come, as Michigan becomes warmer and warmer?

    It sure is a beautiful bird!

    Like

    1. That’s the $64,000 question. DNR says escaped zoo animal, department of zoology says wandering aided by climate change. I am on Team Climate Change because we see a lot more species from the south already.

      Liked by 1 person

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