The first roseate spoonbill bird ever seen in the wild in Michigan, according to wildlife officials, may have escaped from a zoo.
This week, birdwatchers gathered in Saline to photograph the bird, which is endemic to Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and sections of Central and South America.
The Saline Police Department posted photos of the unusual visitor on Facebook and asked visitors to ensure they are keeping themselves safe and not blocking roads while catching a glimpse of the avian.
The spoonbill is “either a zoo escapee or very confused,” according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources experts.
The spoonbill is the first to be sighted in the wild in Michigan, according to Benjamin Winger, curator of birds at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. They have also been seen in adjacent states on occasion.
Young spoonbills are known to wander in the late summer, according to Winger.
“It was really only a matter of time before one was documented in Michigan,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “Sometimes, they wander a bit too far.”