OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — I have a confession: I'm a birder. So when I got a rare bird alert about a limpkin in Sarpy County, I had to check it off my list.
It turns out, so did many others. This rare bird has never been seen in Nebraska, until now.
“Oh, this is a different bird. I don’t know what that is.”
Karen Kader first spotted this about a week ago.
It's called a limpkin, but it’s understandable that she didn’t know what it was because it's way out of range.
“I took a shot and I sent it to Joel Jorgenson at Nebraska Game and Parks and he confirmed that it was a limpkin,” said Kader.
It was the first-ever confirmed sighting in the state and Kader shared her discovery on social media.
“Birders are so appreciative and if I could help make somebody happy and finish their list and get a life bird, it's all worth it,” said Kader.
Word spread fast and birders far and wide flocked to get a shot of the newcomer. Immediately, questions started coming in about why this bird is so far out of range?
We asked John McCarty, a professor of biology at UNO.
“Well I think the ‘why’ it’s here, we can’t answer yet. This is something a couple years ago, just would have not expected to happen and this summer they happen to be popping up all over the Midwest,“ he said.
Sightings on e-bird are published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. But why Nebraska?
The answer: snails.
“This site is one of the spots that's been invaded by an invasive species — an Asian mystery snail that’s pretty large and people have been watching them catch all sorts of these snails. They come in big numbers so that’s probably what's allowing it to be here. It doesn’t fully explain why they decided now as opposed to a few years ago. The snails have been around for a while,” said McCarty.
Time will tell how long our transplants stay. It does show not all birds of a feather... fly together