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Extraordinarily rare seagull makes appearance at Coney Island

Everyone knows New York City is a place where people from around the world visit, but there is one foreign visitor that has locals in a flutter: a seagull.

This is no ordinary seagull though. This is a gray-hooded gull.

In its native habitat of either South America or Africa, the gray-hooded gull is not special, but its species has only made one officially recognized appearance in the United States.

This bird’s appearance on Coney Island gives ordinary bird-lovers a glimpse into the world of the hardcore birder. After hearing about this rare opportunity, birders from as far as Chicago and other cities made the pilgrimage to Coney Island for a look at the bird.

For most people, this is undoubtedly a ‘life bird’ because it’s especially rare. Many birders make lists and do their best to check as many as possible off their list. Many Americans who don’t travel to other countries often will likely never get to check this type of bird off. That’s why this bird is drawing so many spectators.

There’s a possibility it was someone’s pet that was let go or it escaped from the zoo, which would mean it wouldn’t be recognized as an official sighting by the birding association. People are still trying to figure out what it’s doing here, where it came from and what its gender is.

This bird may eventually hybridize with the other gulls around Coney Island and make the U.S. its permanent home. Either way, this interesting bird should not be missed.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

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