Monday, July 19, 2010

Glad to be of service, doctor

Azure-winged Magpie [in the Children's Zoo - December '08] photo by MURRAY HEAD

About four months ago a post here reported that a British birdwatcher had seen [and photographed] an exotic bird at the Model-boat Pond. The bird was subsequently identified as an Azure-winged Magpie that had escaped from the Children's Zoo. The letter below, received this morning, suggests that the bird is still on the loose.

I'm a doctor here in Manhattan and walk every day to work through Central Park. I'm a beginning bird watcher. Recently I have seen a strange bird in Central Park always in the same place, the drive behind the Zoo between the zoo and Wollman Rink. I've been looking at Sibley's but couldn't find this bird in it. I called the Zoo to see if one of their birds got out and left a message with the Urban Park Rangers. On my lunch break, I came across your blog. Your picture of what you believe to be an Azure Winged Magpie is the bird I've been seeing. This morning, I got a great prolonged look at it and it clearly matches pictures of the Azure Winged Magpie I've looked up. Thank you so much for helping to solve this mystery for me!
Thank you,

Alan Dechiario, MD

P.S. from Marie: Just received a quick update from Alan Deciario:

Just to update you. I spoke with a curator at the Central Park Zoo. In the winter there was an ice storm and their netting was damaged and a few birds escaped. They have set traps, and all but this one bird have been recaptured. He stays near the zoo and, by day, he interacts with the other azure winged magpies in the enclosure. Where I have been seeing him is right where the enclosure is.
Alan Dechiario