Mystery bird spotted at Bosque Del Apache national refuge

Posted at: 11/29/2012 2:12 PM
By: SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Wildlife managers at one of the nation's premiere bird-watching spots have a mystery on their hands.

A strange looking bird with dark plumage showed up at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico earlier this month.

No one seems to know exactly what it is. The debate has spread from the refuge's fields and wetlands onto Facebook, with guesses ranging from some kind of mutant to a Thanksgiving turkey disguised as a crane for self-preservation.

Refuge Manager Aaron Mize says it could be a hybrid-cross of some kind. Some of the best birders in the nation - members of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Team Sapsucker - think it's a sandhill crane but they can't explain its abnormalities.

Each year, the refuge becomes home to tens of thousands of cranes and geese that fly south for the winter.

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