Updated on August 1, 2017 at 11:07 AMPosted on August 1, 2017 at 8:57 AM
Birds that normally spend their summers along the southern coast of the U.S. and points farther south in the Gulf of Mexico and South America are making almost unheard-of visits to Pennsylvania this year.
A roseate spoonbill has been drawing anxious birders to Conodoguinet Creek in Hampden Township, near Camp Hill in Dauphin County for the past week or so. Reports of a roseate spoonbill - likely the same bird - first emerged July 15 from the Conejohela Flats section of the Susquehanna River, near Washington Borough in Lancaster County.
If the two sightings about 30 miles apart were the same bird, together they would represent only the fourth time in nearly 150 years that a spoonbill has been documented in Pennsylvania.
Lone spoonbills previously were confirmed in the state in 1869, 1924 and 1968, according to Dan Brauning, supervisor of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Wildlife Diversity Program, project director of the second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas project in 2004-08 and co-author of "The Birds of Pennsylvania," the definitive book on birds in the state.
They are normally found along the Gulf Coast in Florida and Texas, islands in the Gulf of Mexico and South America.