A Strange Sighting

11:14 AM

I have been MIA from this blog for the last little while as I have spent the past couple of weeks moving into a new home.  But I am now settled into the new home and my internet is finally connected so I am back in the blogging game.

One of the best parts of moving into a new home is starting a new backyard bird list.  Since moving I’ve spotted the typical birds Goldfinches, Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers etc., but last week I had a very strange sighting close to home.  While I was driving to the new house down some back streets, I was about a block away from home and I saw a bird in the middle of the road.  Usually if I spot a bird from a distance I am able to get a rough idea of what type of bird it is just by the shape and its behaviour; however this one had me stumped from afar.  It was sort of standing up pigeon like, yet it was not a pigeon and had a short stocky profile.  I also noticed that while the bird was standing in the middle of the road, on the right side a cat was stalking it.  I slowed my car down as I approached the bird and as I got closer I realized it was a Chukar (Alectoris chukar).  The Chukar looked at my car before running across the road and onto someone’s front yard.

A Chukar is a game bird in the family Phasianidae native to Eurasia and has a native range in Asia, from Israel and Turkey through Afghanistan to India, along the inner ranges of the Western Himalayas to Nepal.  Feral populations of this species has been introduced around the world including: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, California and the Rocky Mountains.  While I know that they are spotted in Ontario regularly it was still strange to see one in an urban setting just around the corner from my new home.  It just goes to show you never know what you will see in your own backyard or down your street for that matter. 

I didn’t get a picture of the Chukar I saw but here are some photos that I found from other online sources: 

Photo from the Kurdistan Regional Government's website (www.krg.org).

Photo from the South Dakota Birds and Birding's website (www.sdakotabirds.com).

Photo from the Animal Diversity Web's website (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/index.html).

Good birding!

~ Kristen Martyn

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