Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Purple Gallinule east of Magee Marsh

No, it's not a "chase-able" bird, but it's interesting nonetheless. This morning -- Wednesday May 5 -- a man who lives in one of the small communities on the edge of Lake Erie, a few miles east of Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, found an injured Purple Gallinule wandering around in his yard. He brought it to Black Swamp Bird Observatory, where it was cared for and kept quiet for a short time until it could be transported to our friend Mona Rutger, the dedicated wildlife rehabilitator who runs Back To The Wild, of Castalia, Ohio.

Purple Gallinule is ordinarily a rare visitor to Ohio, averaging fewer than one record per year in the state. But amazingly, this makes four Purple Gallinules found in Ohio in the last few days: another injured bird found in Miami County, one that appeared briefly in a back yard in Medina County, the famous and now much-photographed bird in Lorain County, and the Ottawa County bird. This species occasionally stages odd northward "invasions," and something of the sort is clearly happening right now; if four individuals actually have been found, there may be dozens out there undetected. It would be worthwhile to actively look for Purple Gallinules during the next few days in wetland areas with lots of emergent or floating vegetation such as cattails and lily pads. Metzger Marsh, Ottawa NWR, and Toussaint Wildlife Area would all seem like good places to search.

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