Bird watchers flock to Prospect Park to see rare bird

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A rare sighting is causing hundreds of bird watchers to flock to Prospect Park this winter.  The "Painted Bunting" is showing off its brilliant colors and hundreds are hoping to catch a glimpse.  It's hard to describe the brilliant colors of the male Painted Bunting.

"It's like tie-dyed.  It's a beautiful psychedelic little bird," said Naomi Lloyd who drove down from the Albany area to see the bird.

"It's like the technicolor of song birds. Sort of patched, a quilt-work of odd colors," said Rich Guthrie who has been bird watching for 60 years.

Which is why they continue to line up in Prospect Park day after day.  Lenses of varying length pointed into an abyss of green and brown bramble. Desperate to capture a flash of brilliance in the bushes.

"It such a beautifully striking little bird," said Lloyd.  "The colors are so wonderful.  It's being really approachable and so I had to give it a try and come down and see if I could see it."

The bird, originally spotted Sunday, is rarely seen in New York, usually opting for warmer weather in the South. Which is why some enthusiasts traveled more than three hours hoping for just one stellar shot.

"Not only is it rare, but also that it's beautiful," said Nancy Tognan, Vice President of the Queens County Bird Club.  "Often you'll see a rare gull and it looks a lot like a lot of other gulls.  But this one is just spectacular."

"It's eluded me all these years," said Guthrie.  "So it was important for me to get this year."

Our cameras managed only a short sighting of the brilliant bird before it flew into hiding.
But Arie Gilbert, President of the Queens County Bird Club, says we might have another shot thanks to the plants included in the LeFrak Center Project of 2012.

"Not only does this look nice, but the bird has a reason to hangout because it's got plenty of food," said Gilbert.  "And at this time of the year it's very challenging for them to find food and shelter."

So there's a chance our avian acquaintance will stick around a while longer, while watchers jockey for position hoping for the perfect picture.
But as long as they get to see the brilliance first hand, they don't seem to mind the wait.

"If you're a birder this is heaven," said Gilbert.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.