by Lori Turner, President

Last year at this time, I wrote about a Columbia resident that had 2 Rufous Hummingbirds at their feeder. As far as I know, that didn’t happen again this year. But, we do have a Limpkin, and as of November 29th it’s still present at Twin Lakes Recreation Area off of off Chapel Hill!
It was first reported to the CAS’ president email on November 9th. I was a day late responding to Dorothy Pittman’s email, reporting a “Speckled Limpkin” at Twin Lakes. She gave a description that described, “…a speckled bird at the edge of Twin Lakes. It was carrying a large clam… It then spent at least 5 minutes hammering on it with it’s beak, and trying to maneuver and open it before giving up…” She took some photos from afar and I asked if she could send them to me. She knew it was something unusual for this park as she has been visiting the park for many years. Wow, it sure did look like a Limpkin but I was skeptical until I found out that multiple people were reporting it on MOBIRDS, which is a listserv maintained by Missouri Birding Society, where Missouri birders can email sightings for anyone subscribed to see.
Dorothy was very excited to learn that she was one of the first people to see the rare bird, so rare that it’s the first known sighting in Boone County. Out of all the places it could be in Boone County, it’s foraging and roosting right next to a dog park!
Dorothy added, “When I was a child I always hugely preferred looking for bugs, birds, fish, turtles….anything that moved….more than playing on the playground. I am now 80 and still go poking around any nature area I can get to, watching everything that moves. So after loitering thusly around Twin Lakes for so many years, and in every season, I was sure that the Limpkin was an unusual bird to be seeing there!” It was indeed, Dorothy and so glad you were able to witness!
If you would like to try to see it in person, it has been foraging along the entire shoreline of the lake, according to Paul McKenzie. He said it roosts in a few specific areas as well. Many people have reported it near the dock and pavilion. You can visit CAS’ Facebook page for excellent photos and check out eBird checklists for where it’s been sighted.
It goes without saying but I’m saying it anyway, keep your distance. This bird is not in its normal range and most likely stressed (especially with all the dogs barking 😉 )
Though I didn’t go searching for the Limpkin myself, I wrote this to point out that you don’t have to be an experienced birder to recognize something that is unusual like this Limpkin, you just need to have a love of nature and get out there and be observant of the natural world around you. Anyone reading this already knows that.

P.S. There’s a Ruby-throated Hummingbird still hanging out in Columbia too!

Love to you all and happy holidays!