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Bird watchers in the US celebrate after citing a Bat Falcon for the first time

Bat falcon is a small bird which is carnivore and eats large insects, birds, bats, and small rodents (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ebshupe)

A bird visiting the United States has caught the attention of all its avian lovers and why shouldn’t it be as this is the first time a bat falcon has been seen in the country, as per a report smithsonianmag.com.

Bird lovers from all over have been visiting Texas to catch a glimpse of this bird which is normally seen in Mexico, and Central and South America.

Talking about this species to Border Report, Jeffrey Gordon who was earlier president of the American Birding Association said: “It’s got everything going for it. It’s rare. It’s spectacular and it’s a bird of prey. It’s showing up in a great location. It’s the perfect storm in the birding world.”

A small bird which is carnivore, the bat falcon’s belly is rust coloured while its throat is white. Their staple diet is large insects, birds, bats, and small rodents which they prey either at dawn or dusk.

It is categorised as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, though degradation and loss of habitat is bringing down their numbers.

The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge wrote on Facebook that it is likely that this Texas falcon is juvenile because it has “buff-(cinnamon) throat and (chest) bars” while “judging by the thickness of the tarsus and beak”, it seems to be a male.

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Though it is not known why this bird has strayed so far from its territory, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in its comments on Facebook mentioned that the range of these birds “definitely seems to be expanding (according to birdwatching data from the last few decades) but we don't know why.”

Houston Museum of Natural Science curator of vertebrate zoology Dan Brooks told Houston Chronicle that maybe the bird became a little bold and adventurous to venture far from home due to climate change. Having said that he informed Chronicle: "When it leaves, there's no guarantee he'll come back.”

Peter Witt, who clicked the falcon sitting on a branch with a large dragonfly in its beak revealed: “We could see him fly off from a tree shag perch, skim the lake, grab an insect and return to chow down, then rest a bit and repeat. We watched him for about 20 minutes… a wonderful and unique experience.”

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In February 4,000 birders had come to the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge to catch a glimpse of this falcon and one of them was 77-year-old Ray Sharpton, who is retired and drove 34 hours from New York to see the bird. “I first heard about the bat falcon on eBird alert. I’ve been watching it on the computer and finally one day I said, ‘I’m going!’”

Joe Barnett, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deputy refuge manager added: “Somebody even came from Europe, so it’s drawing a lot of attention.”