Red-winged blackbird from North America finds celebrity on Scottish island
'They see the bird and then they pretty much get on the flight back and leave'
A common bird in North America has become a bit of a local celebrity on a Scottish island, where bird watchers are flocking just to check it off their list.
The female red-winged blackbird was spotted in late April on Ronaldsay Island.
"The big deal is that it's never been seen in the U.K., never mind the Western Palaearctic," said Larissa Simulik, referring to the ecological zone that encompasses Europe, North Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.
Originally from Ottawa, Simulik is the assistant warden at the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, where experts study migratory birds.
The red-winged blackbird, which has become a local celebrity, likely blew in on strong winds from North America, where it is a common sight.
The island has only 45 residents, yet more than 150 visitors have shown up to see the bird.
"Birding in the U.K. is competitive. People want to have the most birds on their list in any given year," Simulik told the Calgary Eyeopener.
Some of the visitors are arriving on charter flights from southern England.
"They take the flight out here, we pick them up, we show them where the bird is, they see the bird and then they pretty much get on the flight back and leave," said Simulik.
"It just boggles my mind because if it was me, I'd like to see more of the island."
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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener