Among the millions and millions of creatures in New York City, there is but one Couch's kingbird. And great is his power, at least when it comes to drawing birders to a sliver of western Manhattan in late December. First spotted around Christmas Day, word of the kingbird's presence thrummed through the bird watching community and sent email lists a-twitter. Early Monday, according to DNAinfo, roughly a dozen bird enthusiasts had gathered to catch a glimpse of the bird, including a traveler from Fairfield, Conn., a few hours away.
It's the first time a Couch's kingbird has ever been seen in New York, wrote New York Audubon Society naturalist Gabriel Willow, in an email to The Dodo. It's possible the bird could adjust to Gotham life, he said, despite being so far from home. These birds, natives of Texas and Mexico, are insectivores. Bugs can be hard to find when the Northeast when the weather dips below freezing. "On the other hand, on a sunny day where the buildings block the wind, NYC is as good a place to find flies," Willow said. The birds eat berries, too, which gives the naturalist hope that the critter might survive the harsh temperatures. "It has apparently been seen feeding on berries in a backyard in the neighborhood, and thus might be able to take advantage of this resource through the winter, if it chooses to remain. Or it might head south."