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Hey, that's no loon! Subtropical bird spotted in Minnesota for first time

The wayward roseate spoonbill is pictured Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. (Isaac Hosch/ Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—A subtropical bird with pink plumage and a distinctive bill has been recorded in Minnesota for the first time, causing ornithology enthusiasts to flock to a Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington wildlife preserve for a chance to see it in person.

The wayward bird, known as a roseate spoonbill, was spotted recently in Washington County, according to the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union.

On Sunday, Aug. 25, the spoonbill was drawing crowds to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, where it was observed from a boardwalk near the old Cedar Avenue bridge.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the roseate spoonbill "looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book with its bright pink feathers, red eye staring out from a partly bald head, and giant spoon-shaped bill. Groups sweep their spoonbills through shallow fresh or salt waters snapping up crustaceans and fish.

"They fly with necks outstretched, to and from foraging and nesting areas along the coastal southeastern U.S., and south to South America. These social birds nest and roost in trees and shrubs with other large wading birds."

The Minnesota spoonbill, which hasn't been reported since last weekend, was chronicled by Sharon Stiteler, a popular Twin Cities bird expert who is known on social media as the "Birdchick." You can watch her video account at www.facebook.com/thebirdchick.

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