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Rare bird spotted, could be first time ever in North America

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 14:47 - The European mistle thrush is a bird species commonly seen across Europe and Iceland. There has never been a recorded sighting in North America -- until now.

Peter Gadd and his wife, both active birders, noticed a bird on their property in eastern Canada over the weekend. It was about the size of a robin and was dining on berries from a mountain ash tree. They weren't able to identify its features in a North American book, so they sent their photos to experts who immediately recognized it, the CBC reports.

"It doesn't get any rarer than this," Jim Wilson, a New Brunswick-based birder and naturalist, told the CBC.

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Photo courtesy: Peter Gadd, CBC

Wilson added this is the first time a mistle thrush has been recorded in North America. Experts believe the migratory bird wound up on the east coast after being separated from its flock by heavy winds.

Ever since the sighting, birders and experts have been circling Gadd's property in hopes of another view. Others are scouring the area in case the windy system pushed more birds in.

Gadd told the CBC he hopes it will survive the winter and remain in the area until the snow clears. He says he has raspberries, blueberries and plums on hand if it tires of the food from the mountain ash.

The bird is used to colder climates and is likely to survive if it can avoid predators and maintain a healthy supply of food. That likely won't be a problem, with all the excited people in the area.

The main concern is making sure the bird -- and the neighbourhood it's taken up residence in -- remain undisturbed, given all the recent commotion.

"Hopefully, the welfare of the bird will always be at the forefront of everybody's mind," Wilson told the CBC, adding people should keep a safe distance and walk quietly through the area. 

"This little bird has no idea how popular it is."

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Source: CBC

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