Exotic bird that escaped from New York state zoo found in residential yard

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A tropical blackbird that escaped from a New York state zoo was located less than a day later in a residential yard not far from the facility, officials said.

The Buffalo Zoo said the crested oropendola blackbird, named Bluebird, escaped Tuesday from the Rainforest Falls Exhibit and experts predicted the avian would remain close to the zoo.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hanging around locally. Right now, the bird is following basically the exact diet of an oriole. We have the warm weather. We have bugs. We have fruit,” Angel Swann, who owns Wild Birds Unlimited of Amherst, told the Buffalo News. “It wants to hide in the trees, more like in a forest, a park or even a back yard.”

Swann’s prediction proved correct Wednesday night when the South American bird was spotted in a residential yard by a member of the public. A zoo team responded to the scene and safely recaptured Bluebird.

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Keesha Bullock, chief marketing and communications officer for the zoo, said officials had enlisted the help of local birdwatchers in the Buffalo-Niagara Birding group on Facebook to keep an eye out for the blackbird and track its movements.

The capture happened just hours before the zoo reopened to the public Thursday morning for the first time since closing amid COVID-19 lockdown measures in March.

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