For 2 weeks, an odd chicken has perched in Brooklyn over the treetops of one of many Three Sisters Islands in Prospect Park Lake. It exhibits no indicators of heading again to the place it probably got here from within the South.
Meet the anhinga, a big water chicken with a snaky neck that has joined different high-profile vagrant birds lately by making a uncommon look exterior of its typical migration vary.
The chicken’s identify comes from the Tupi Indian language of Brazil and means “satan chicken.” And based on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it’s not from round right here: Anhingas in the US usually vary from the Southern states alongside the gulf coast to Texas, stretching into the Carolinas in the summertime.
The Prospect Park anhinga is the primary satan chicken noticed in Kings County, and solely the second sighting in New York Metropolis since 1992. When Radka Osickova first noticed it with the Brooklyn Hen Membership, she couldn’t consider her eyes.
“What sort of a bizarre heron is that over there?” she recollects asking.
Researchers say that this rogue anhinga didn’t merely veer off target, however that it was benefiting 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 within the southeastern United States,” stated Andrew Farnsworth, a researcher on the Cornell lab. He added that the anhinga “is a powerful flier and fairly a migrant, so it’s not essentially a shock that is taking place.”
Longtime bird-watchers have famous different uncommon feathered guests in Prospect Park in current months.
“A number of the species embrace summer time tanager, yellow-throated warbler, Acadian flycatcher (now nesting within the park) and others,” stated Tom Stephenson, a Brooklyn birder, in an electronic mail. “We’ve additionally seen various uncommon Western species in Brooklyn, together with Townsend’s warbler and Swainson’s hawk.”
Kenn Kaufman, a chicken knowledgeable and area information writer, says we’re seeing a broad sample rising with Southern birds in the hunt for new nesting territories.
“In evolutionary phrases, these far-flung wanderers is perhaps seen 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 automobile window in Rome, N.Y., about 180 miles north of New York Metropolis.
“Out of the nook of my eye, I noticed what I assumed was a double-crested cormorant sitting on a log within the canal on my left,” stated Mr. Wing, a chicken fanatic. “The colour for the top and neck was a lot lighter than a typical cormorant, and it didn’t appear proper.”
He pulled over and took a better look with a spare set of binoculars he retains in his automobile.
“To my amazement, I noticed a number of anhingas sitting on a log, and lots of others up within the bushes alongside the alternative financial institution of the canal,” he stated.
After taking images together with his cellphone, Mr. Wing confirmed his sighting with a buddy. They counted 22 anhingas and logged them into eBird, the net chicken statement database.
“It was really an unimaginable sight to behold,” he stated.
Mr. Kaufman shares Mr. Wing’s enthusiasm for the uncommon encounter, whereas noting the rising variety of anhingas seen within the Center Atlantic States.
“Considered in isolation, the flock upstate appears totally astounding,” Mr. Kaufman stated. “And it’s, within the context of New York State information.”
Because the preliminary sighting in Brooklyn, throngs of delighted birders have visited Prospect Park hoping to catch a peek.
“Whereas we’re excited to see the anhinga to N.Y.C., please watch from a distance and respect its house,” stated Sarah Aucoin, the chief of training and wildlife for the New York Metropolis parks division. “It might not be from round right here, but it surely’s nonetheless a wild animal for us to respect.”