First Reported Sighting Of Blue Rock-Thrush Bird In U.S.

May 7, 2024

When I got home, I started to process the pictures from my trip and I saw that it wasn’t a little black bird — it was actually a beautifully colored blue and a chestnut bird.

Hobbyist photographer and middle school teacher Michael Sanchez describing photos he captured of “a little cute bird” on a beach in Oregon, initially not realizing it was a blue rock-thrush, native to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe.

Why It Matters: Bird experts verified Sanchez’s sighting marks the first time a blue rock-thrush has been spotted in the United States. According to the American Birding Association (ABA), the sighting also marks the first time the blue and chestnut-colored bird has been seen in North America in nearly 30 years. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how the bird got to the Oregon beach, however, one theory poses that the bird could have been migrating in Asia before getting blown off course, potentially later catching a ride aboard a cargo ship before arriving in America. Of his photos, Sanchez says, “What I’m mostly happy about is that this brings a little bit of joy and a little bit of beauty to everybody’s lives.”

A few days later around 500 miles away, a blue rock-thrush was spotted in California: “It’s unclear whether this is the same individual or a second individual brought over on the same winds that misoriented the Oregon bird. Both scenarios seem about equally likely” (ABA).

Read More: Hobbyist photographer snaps photo of extremely rare bird in 1st U.S. sighting (NPR)

‘Very rare’ bird spotted in Oregon, first reported sighting in US history (ABC News)

Photo Courtesy of Michael Sanchez

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas