Birdwatchers across the U.S. were treated this week to news a rare spotting of a South American bird that reportedly missed its mark while migrating.
According to the Chicago Tribune, excited birdwatchers scoured the area where the bird was initially spotted hoping to catch a glimpse of the White-crested Elaenia.
The Tribune reported two teens, Ethan and Aaron Gyllenhaal, had spotted the rare sight last week during one of the duo's birdwatching outings. Once word got out, including being spread on Twitter and Facebook, bird enthusiasts from across the U.S. eagerly looked for news on the Elaenia sighting.
The brothers weren't 100 percent sure what bird they saw, but they conferred with their father, museum consultant Dr. Eric Gyllenhaal, also a bird enthusiast, reported CBS News.
The brothers also posted their images of the bird to Facebook and Illinois' Birders' forum, and other bird watchers chimed in to say the bird was indeed looked like an Elaenia from South America.
Aaron Gyllenhaal posted several photos on the Illinois' Birders' forum website.
One enthusiast hopped a flight Sat. morning in hopes of getting a glimpse.
“This is one bird short of being the rarest sight ever,” Greg Bretz told the Tribune. Bretz said he took a flight Saturday morning from Orlando, Fla. after hearing about the bird via the North American Rare Bird Alert subscription service on Wednesday. “It’s a nice high to see that.”
The American Birding Association has reportedly not yet officially declared the small green and white bird an Elaenia, but if it does turn out to be conclusive, it will be only the second time this type of bird sighting has occurred in the U.S.; the last Elaenia sighting was in Texas in 2008,.
If the Elaenia is in the U.S. this week, this means it traveled about 7,000 north of its normal habitat for this time of year.
It's a mystery how this bird ended up in North America instead of its normal migration, but enthusiasts who got to experience a Chicago viewing won't soon forget it.