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Roseate spoonbill spotted in Michigan for the first time

A roseate spoonbill, the first bird of its species ever spotted in the wild in Michigan, might have escaped from a zoo, or it may have merely wandered far from its Florida habitat, wildlife experts said. Photo courtesy of the Saline Police Department
A roseate spoonbill, the first bird of its species ever spotted in the wild in Michigan, might have escaped from a zoo, or it may have merely wandered far from its Florida habitat, wildlife experts said. Photo courtesy of the Saline Police Department

July 21 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Michigan said the first roseate spoonbill bird ever spotted in the wild in the state might have escaped from a zoo.

Birdwatchers have been gathering in Saline this week to capture photos of the bird native to Florida's Gulf Coast, the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America.

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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 department said Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists believe the spoonbill "is either a zoo escapee or very confused."

Benjamin Winger, curator of birds at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, said the spoonbill is the first to ever be spotted in the wild in Michigan, but they occasionally have made appearances in neighboring states.

Winger said young spoonbills are known to wander in the late summer.

"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."

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