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The second-ever sighting of a tropical seabird in Indiana



Indianapolis, Indiana – An avian resident of tropical seas recently made an unanticipated detour across southern Indiana.

A young brown booby, or Sula leucogaster, was spotted diving for fish in a lake at Spring Mill State Park last Monday, according to assistant state ornithologist Amy Kearns.

The plumage of the brown booby is the inspiration for its name. Having a lengthy neck, a pointed tail, short legs, and vibrant yellow feet, this bird is easily recognizable. Its big wings allow it to dive expertly and execute rapid aerial manoeuvres.

“This species is not normally found in the United States, let alone Indiana,” Kearns told the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, noting that the bird had wandered naturally out of its normal range.

In Indiana, this is the second occurrence of a brown booby. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the initial sighting was recorded on a private lake near Zionsville in May 2019.

Last week, the brown booby relaxed on a newly-constructed floating pier and fished near the park’s Lakeview Activity Center. According to Kearns, the unique seabird isn’t going to be around for much longer and could take flight at any moment.

In order to ensure the unusual bird’s health and safe return home, park staff ask that guests who come to observe it provide it with plenty of space to rest and feed.

Near Mitchell, Indiana, at 3333 State Road 60 East, you’ll find Spring Mill State Park. Residents of Indiana pay $7 per vehicle at the entrance, while those from other states are charged $9.