A Rare Find!

From afar I saw it. At first not paying much attention, for it looked like some kind of black bird but then I saw the long legs. Umm… maybe some sort of sandpiper? No, it’s not spotted or light brown but dark. And the most prominent feature was the long, down-curved bill.

Stepping closer quietly, I saw its deep maroon, multi-coloured plumage. Magnificent, maybe even magical. I haven’t seen this bird before.

Many of you might be able to ID it, but I had to do a lot of digging into Google search to discover what I’d just seen was a GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus). From Wikipedia, here’s the origin of the name: The scientific name derives from Ancient Greek plegados and Latin, falcis, both meaning “sickle” and referring to the distinctive shape of the bill.

And why am I so excited about seeing it? Look at this distribution map:

The glossy ibis can be found along the east coast of the United States from Maine to Texas. In the winter it lives from the Carolinas south to Florida and along the Gulf Coast to Texas. It is also found in Central America, South America, Africa, southern Eurasia and Australasia.

And where am I? In Alberta, Canada. From the map above, the second province from the west coast of Canada. Why is this glossy ibis here? A stray? Off course during migration? Or, just needs some cooler and crisper air up here?

I just couldn’t help but moved another step closer and that was it for my short discovery. It flew away but in a circle, coming right back at me, as if saying farewell, then disappeared into the distant sky:

I sure hope it will find its way back to where it belongs… But fine too, if it feels the Pond is a safe, new home, however temporal. You’re welcome to stay!


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

18 thoughts on “A Rare Find!”

  1. How interesting! These are relatively common here, of course, but some do wander. Recently a friend in Ontario spotted a lone Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and we’re at the very northern edge of their territory.

    One note: the White-faced Ibis is easily confused with the Glossy. It’s hard for me to distinguish them from time to time. You might take a second look. In either case, it’s quite a find for you. I hope you get to see it again. Maybe it will bring friends!


    1. You’re absolutely right. I’ve been trying to determine if it’s a White-faced or Glossy ibis. At first I thought it’s a White-faced, as I found that there were sightings of them in Alberta years ago but not recently. Then later, upon digging into some more birding websites and sharing with other birders, I ‘decided’ it to be Glossy, despite the improbable range, mainly due to the fact that it doesn’t have pink eyes and pink legs and around the eye doesn’t have white. You’re right, either case, it’s a rare find, albeit common for many of you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The only time I feel absolutely confident about the White-faced is during breeding season, when those white markings are much more distinct. Of course, this isn’t breeding season, so…


    1. Under the sun and from far away I couldn’t see clearly the plumage, although I did see that it’s multi-coloured. Only when I uploaded it on my computer did I see how beautiful it is!


  2. What a sighting! Gorgeous bird. I wonder with climate change if you will see more birds coming north to escape the heat south? I would not be surprised since even the trees are slowing moving.


    1. Could be … there needs to be more study of bird behaviour and climate change. Another side of the story could be: since we’re very hot too these past weeks, so that might confuse them into thinking they’re in the South. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fabulous find! 🤩 wow! My hands would have been so shaky I couldn’t have snapped the photos you captured! How do you do it Arti?
    And the more I looked — I had to agree on the Glossy Ibis iD…


    1. I was birding at the time so I had my camera ready. I couldn’t ID it then and wasn’t aware of its rarity here until I did some research after uploading it. So, wasn’t shaky at all. Just curious. 😉


  4. These are just magical — especially the silhouette in flight photos. What an amazing find. I wonder if it is indeed due to the climate. I’ve never seen one of those here. Lucky you!


  5. Lovely!! I notified our daughter who lives in Alberta to be on the lookout, but probably the Ibis is on the way. Thank you for all of the pictures that you post, Arti, and the stories!!
    God bless, C-Marie

    Liked by 1 person

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