An unexpected visitor caused a big commotion in niche community near Milwaukee recently. A flame-colored tanager was spotted at Sheridan Park in Cudahy and birdwatchers went, well, cuckoo.
In short, that flame-colored tanager is a very long way from home. Their typical habitat is in Mexico and Central America. And according to a tracking system called eBird, they have only been spotted in only two other U.S. states, Arizona and Texas.
Nobody is sure why the bird is here or how it got so far from its avian stomping grounds south of the border. Maybe it’s like those people in Florida who take pythons as pets and then release them into the Everglades once they get too big. But a flame-colored tanager doesn’t seem like a threat to pets or small children, so it’s probably not that.
Anyway, once word of its presence spread in the birding community, the ornithologically inclined grabbed their binoculars — and whatever else one needs to look at birds — and beelined out the door.
With the state now in the grips of flame-colored tanager, it’s fair to wonder whether we pulled the plug on our line of Birdwatch Wisconsinbly merchandise too soon. If our fair state continues to be a destination for exotic birds wanting a break from the tropical heat, we’ll have to consider bringing it back.
If you want to catch a glimpse of this rare bird, you may still have time. The fact of the matter is, we don’t have up-to-the-minute details on its whereabouts or travel plans. But if you want to give it a go, Sheridan Park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. You can always pack a cooler with Drink Wisconsinbly Brandy Old Fashioned in a can and grill so you can salvage the day by tailgating.