(GOOSE POND FWA) - Bird watchers from several states flocked to Baseline Road near the Beehunter Marsh unit 5 at Goose Pond FWA, near Linton, Thursday morning to get a glimpse of a rare Asian Hooded Crane.
The first sighting of the bird was at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday and the bird stayed until dark.
Birdwatchers from Minnesota, Ohio and Kentucky and throughout Indiana were at the pond Wednesday and Thursday to see the bird. Many more are expected this weekend if the bird stays in the area.
According to Brad Feaster, property manager at Goose Pond, the bird arrived after having spent the last few months in Tennessee. More than 2,500 birdwatchers traveled from 26 states and two countries including Russia, to Tennessee to see the rare bird.
The sighting in Tennessee and another sighting in Nebraska and the one at Goose Pond are the only North American sightings of this species.
The crane, which is normally seen only in southeast Asia, China, Japan and Russia, may have taken a wrong turn in December and joined Sandhill Cranes wintering in Tennessee.
Lee Sterrenburg, with the Sassafras Chapter of the Audubon Society, says it is incredible to see this bird here. There have been two other North American sightings, but those birds escaped from an exotic bird facility.
Sterrenburg says the best time to see the bird is in the afternoon when the sandhill cranes are feeding and to look on the outer edge of the flock, sort of off by itself, because the sandhill cranes don't like it much.
According to the International Crane Foundation, the Hooded Crane is about three feet tall and weighs about 8 pounds.
Adult crowns are unfeathered, red and covered with black hairlike bristles. The head and neck are snow white, which extends down the neck. The body plumage is slate gray to black with the primaries, secondaries, tail and tail coverts black.
Eye color is hazel yellow to orange brown with its legs and toes being black.
Males and females are virtually indistinguishable, although males tend to be larger in size.
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