August 11, 2006

Rare Bird Spotted in Texas Valley

MISSION, Texas (AP) - Birders from around the country have been coming to the Rio Grande Valley to catch sight of a Northern Jacana that is far north of normal range.

The colorful, long-toed water bird was spotted at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco on Aug. 5 and at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park on Thursday.

The bird is normally found in Mexico and Central America and has been seen occasionally in Texas, usually in the winter months.

James Booker, a naturalist at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, said the species hadn't been seen in the Valley in years.

He said the bird is believed to be a male because of its small size and is likely using the post-breeding and nesting months to explore. The males of the species build the nests, incubate the eggs and raise the young. The females mate with up to four males a season, leaving a clutch of eggs for the males.