Precursor to a Weird Summer?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 13th, 2006

What’s up with the birds in North Dakota?

In the last two weeks, birders have seen, and in some cases, photographed, eight different species of birds not seen in the states for years or decades or, as it turns out, ever.

These include sightings of a mountain plover (not seen in North Dakota since the 1930s), a Eurasian wigeon, two great black-backed gulls, an anhinga, a mountain chickadee, a gray jay, a red-shouldered hawk and an eastern meadowlark.

Eight accidentals in two weeks is remarkable. “Typically, maybe one or two a month over a year. To see eight in two weeks is pretty unusual,” Corey Ellingson, president of the Bismarck-Mandan Bird Club and the reporter for the North Dakota Birding Society, said to the local media.

The anhinga may be the most unique sighting. “The fact that it’s here is pretty incredible. It would be the first state record, if it’s passed by the records committee,” Ellingson said. There was one other report from eastern North Dakota in the 1990s, but “there weren’t enough details to pass it,” he added.

To read the entire Bismarck Tribune article, find it here.

In a year that has already had extraordinarily warm weather, is this upswing in unusual bird sightings giving us a clue that there might be more or more interesting cryptid sightings throughout the Northern Hemisphere? Certainly in the past, unusual sightings of snowy owls lower south in their range, cranes out of their usual flyways, and other sightings of accidentals have sometimes been documented before or during cryptid encounters.

Watch those northern woods and skies, as the trees bud and the spring peepers begin to sing.


Update: For a commentary and extension of this post, please click on “Thunderbird Spotting.” Thank you.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Precursor to a Weird Summer?”

  1. sschaper responds:

    I can see many of those birds being blown by the recent powerful fronts we’ve had, but an anhinga?

    An anhinga?

    Aren’t those the ‘water turkeys’ of the Amazon? claws on their wings, maybe teeth?

    What could -possibly- cause one of those to wind up in North Dakota?

    The poles haven’t reversed or anything, have they?

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    See an image of the water bird known as the anhinga, by clicking on its Latin name, here: Anhinga anhinga. They are only rarely north of Texas, although, as that site notes, they have been seen in Wisconsin.

    The bird from the Amazon that has babies who are born with claws on their wings to climb back into the nest is the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin).

  3. Ole Bub responds:

    Fair enough…..

    seeing is believing….

  4. Doug responds:

    My father-in-law is an avid birder and is getting a real kick out of this. Next thing I know, he may be flying to North Dakota to see them himself.

  5. Mnynames responds:

    It may be worth noting that the Herring Gull, now so predominant along the Jersey Shore as to be considered THE sea gull, was first reported to be present only in 1946. The Black-Back Gull, still not nearly so common, but of which you can usually spot at least one in any large grouping of gulls here, first arrived in 1966. As they are said to have migrated in from the north, I have often wondered if their invasions were an early harbinger of the effects of global warming. Food for thought, anyway…

  6. Mnynames responds:

    I know this is kinda off-topic, but the Anhinga kinda reminds me of the giant bird from the 1954 monster movie “The Giant Claw”…probably had the worst special effects of ANY film from the 50’s, but if you can get past that, I always found the plot rather Lovecraftian. An Acadian myth (Which may have been made up for the film, I dunno) is also employed to explain the monster. Anybody else remember the movie?

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