Bird migration season can yield some unlikely sightings and birders are flocking to the area around Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon after a Eurasian wigeon was spotted in the area over the weekend.
The bird was first reported on the District's Will County Wildlife Facebook group on Saturday, November 21, with additional sightings on Sunday, November 22.
Chris Gutmann, the facility supervisor at Four Rivers, confirmed that the bird photographed is a male Eurasian wigeon.
These birds are an incredibly rare sight in Illinois, and according to eBird data this is the first sighting ever reported in Will County. Other sightings this weekend were reported at the Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area. These birds were previously seen in DuPage County in 1996, and you have to go back to the 1980s for some isolated sightings in Cook County.
Eurasian wigeons are normally found on Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but according to The Cornell Lab, single birds have made their way to nearly all states.
These ducks are medium-sized, and the males have mostly gray bodies with a dark reddish head and buffy crown and white tips on the wings. Females have a mostly brown body and a white underbelly.
The weekend sightings have come along Front Street in Channahon, near the boat launch that's just east of Briscoe Mounds. With the right gear, they'd also be visible from Four Rivers.
"Waterfowl tend to bounce around between here and there since Front Street is just on the other side of the river confluence," Gutmann said.
This latest sighting once again confirms that you never know what you'll see when out and about, especially during migration season.
So when you're out and about, keep your eyes peeled. If it's a bird you've never seen before, it may be one that avid birders haven't either.
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