Tropic bird goes astray, sparks NM birding frenzy

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By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — There's a frenzy erupting in the birding world, and the Rufous-necked wood-rail is to blame.

For the first time, the species has been spotted in the United States. The colorful, chicken-sized birds are typically found along the coasts and in tropical forests in Central and South America.

For the last two weeks, one of the birds has made itself at home at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Mexico.

The sighting has prompted emergency plane reservations and impromptu road trips reminiscent of "The Big Year," the comedy that brought to life the annual competition among birders to identify the most species of birds in North America in a year's time.

Refuge officials say the marsh boardwalk has been getting crowded during sunrise and sunset as birders try to get a glimpse of the bird.

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