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This Bird Has Never Been Seen in the US Before—Until Now

Bat falcon spotted in Texas usually breeds in Mexico, Central and South America
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2022 9:15 AM CST
This Bird Has Never Been Seen in the US Before—Until Now
A photo of another bat falcon.   (Joao Quental/Wikimedia Commons)

A bird that has never been seen in the US before has made its way to the Lone Star State, per the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and there's pictorial proof. Peter Witt tells KSAT that when he and his wife visited the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge last year, they realized immediately they were witnessing something pretty special when they spotted one of the preserve's residents perched on a branch. "We knew it ... when we spotted it since we had seen pictures taken by others and read about the bird online," Witt tells the outlet.

The bird Witt and his wife had stumbled upon: a bat falcon, a bird of prey weighing between 4.8 oz. and 8.5 oz. that typically breeds in Mexico, Central America, and South America, per the refuge, which notes the individual bird that's set down roots there appears to be a juvenile male. Witt says the couple had hiked into the preserve about 2 1/2 miles before they caught a glimpse of the bat falcon, which they observed as it swooped around in the skies and even caught local insects for dinner while they were there.

"We watched him for about 20 minutes ... a wonderful and unique experience," Witt tells KSAT. NBC News notes that the photos he took of the bird at the end of December are just now being shared by the FWS, which excitedly proclaimed on Tuesday: "This is the first recorded time that a bat falcon has ever been seen in the US!" Others are now posting their own sighting pics in the comments section. "Just saw him last Thursday!! He is beautiful!" one noted. (More birds stories.)

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