North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory (NRBO) has been inundated with visitors over the past two days, following the sighting of a Red-winged Blackbird.
Though very common in North
America, this is the first recorded sighting of the species in
Europe. Since it was first spotted last Saturday, April 28, over between
50 and 60 birdwatchers have arrived on the island each day, hoping
to catch a glimpse.
NRBO’s Simon Davies explained that Red-winged
blackbirds typically nest marsh areas.
This specimen has been feeding in
the middle of the Iris beds on North Ronaldsay, but no one is quite
sure how it got there.
With the volume of birdwatchers increasing,
NRBO made the decision yesterday to “flush” the bird out of its new
residence and into a more suitable area. They hope that this will
prevent any damage being done to the Iris beds, which already provide an
important breeding ground for the island’s waterfowl.
bird is flushed, it involves a lone member of the observatory staff
going through the known feeding area to push the bird out towards
another favourable area for the bird,” NRBO explained in a statement on
“As you’ll appreciate, the bird is very rare and the volume
of twitchers on the island is high. Without the use of this policing
technique, groups of twitchers would simply arrive on the sit, fan out
over the area and trample the irises that breeding birds find so
NRBO staff also confirmed that they will be continuing
to monitor the area, round-the-clock, in order to protect the both the
bird and its habitat.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.