Exotic bird spotted in Tunkhannock Township

This blue eared pheasant, a bird native to the mountain forests in central China, was spotted recently on the property of Bob Hemmerly at Saddle Lake in Tunkhannock Township.

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

Where did that bird come from?

That’s what Bob Hemmerly of Tunkhannock Township wondered when he saw an exotic looking bird wandering his property at Saddle Lake in Tunkhannock Township recently.

He happened to snap a photo of the bird, which turned out to be a blue eared pheasant, common in the mountain forests of centralChina.

Hemmerly didn’t know what to make of the bird, so he brought the photo to Rebecca Lesko ofEndlessMountainsNatureCenter, who researched the pheasant and found out its roots.

Lesko said the blue eared pheasant that Hemmerly saw didn’t get its name from having blue ears, but rather from the white ring of feathers that stick up on its neck.

“I have no clue how it ended up here,” Lesko said. “I can only venture to guess that someone brought it here. I don’t think this particular bird came fromChina, it was probably raised here.”

Lesko said that its common practice for bird lovers to buy and raise exotic birds, and that this bird in particular probably wandered away from its owner.

“Just like the game commission raises pheasants here for hunting, people raise exotic birds in captivity,” Lesko said.

While the roots of this particular bird are currently unknown, it’s not that uncommon to see an exotic bird in northeasternPennsylvania.

“People come in to the nature center every now and again with photos of exotic birds they’ve seen,” Lesko said. “I wouldn’t say it’s every month, but it has happened.”

Lesko said that the sighting of one exotic bird every now and again is not a cause for concern.

“If it’s just one bird, it’s usually not a problem,” Lesko said. “I mean there is always the possibility that if a bird came from another country it could carry disease here, but it’s unlikely this bird was raised inChina.”

However, she noted that if it was a large flock of birds not native to this area, it could pose a problem.

“If you go and release a large number of non-native birds in the area it could be a problem,” Lesko said. “Like Starlings and House Sparrows in this area. They outcompete the native birds for food.”

People with information about the blue eared pheasant spotted atSaddleLakeare urged to call Hemmerly at 836-1642 or Lesko at 836-3835.