Unusual birds sightings reported


Reports of a western tanager in Welch and a cattle egret in Wacouta caught the attention of local bird enthusiast Bruce Ause last week.

"I didn't see either one," Ause, former director of the Environmental Learning Center, said. "People often call me when they see something interesting."

Western tanagers generally range from southern Alaska to Baja, Calif., and west of the Rocky Mountains.

"It is not unheard of to see a western tanager in the midwest, but it is not that common," Ause, a member of the Red Wing Audubon Society, said. "What sometimes happens in a situation like this is a bird gets blown off course by a storm during migration."

Cattle egrets are known to live in warmer, even tropical climates. The one in Wacouta was seen several times in recent days.

One sighting Ause, who leads interpretive walks at Frontenac State Park in the summer, made this week was of grosbeaks. "If we see a pair of grosbeaks," he said, "we feel fortunate. One day this week we saw seven males and four females at the same time at our feeders."