Rare birds hang around northern MN farm – 1,500 miles from home


You'd think a celebrity was staying at the home of Steve and Patrice Roberts in Detroit Lakes.

But it's actually a pair of Vermillion Flycatchers, a bird last seen in Minnesota more than two decades ago, according to the Grand Forks Herald, which says "crowds have been gathering" at the rural farm to see two of the birds making a temporary home there.

Flycatchers are native to South and Central America, as well as a few southern U.S. border states, and are noted for distinctive red coloring, All About Birds writes.

The paper says the couple noticed one of them and thought it was unusual, so they called a wildlife biologist, who eventually showed up and confirmed that it was, indeed, a Vermillion Flycatcher.

Since then, WDAY reports, more than 100 birders have come to see the little visitors, with some traveling from more than five hours away.

Roberts told the station he and his wife don't mind all the company, saying, "It's fun to see people be happy that's what it really boils down to."

While reports say only two are hanging around the Roberts farm, Minnesota birding blog "A Boy Who Cried Heron" says the state had "not one, not two, but three Vermilion Flycatchers" earlier this month – suggesting maybe there are more.

According to the The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, the first sighting of a Flycatcher was in Cook County (the northeastern tip of the state – a considerable distance away from Detroit Lakes) on Nov. 2.

It's not clear how or why they made it all the way to Minnesota, but the homeowner speculated that it might have something to do with the recent hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

Earlier this month bird-watchers were reporting sightings of Snowy Owls, which are native to Canada and only show up in Minnesota occasionally.

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