Birders sight rare Painted Redstart in Jackson County

klnelson@sunherald.comJanuary 6, 2012 

— An incredibly rare bird find is attracting a crowd on East Bellefontaine Road in south Jackson County this morning. A Painted Redstart was spotted during the annual Christmas Bird Count in Jackson County and it appears to be sticking around.

The word is out among birders in the state and in the Southeastern U.S. and they have been drifting in this morning.

Nancy Madden of Gulfport, spotted the bird, rare to Mississippi, during Thursday's count. And so far, It hasn't left the scrub oaks along the coastal road where she found it.

The bird usually winters in Arizona, but bird-expert Mark Woodrey said he's been to Arizona three times and failed to see it. This morning, he brought a ornithology class he was teaching at the Gulf Coast Research Lab to see the rare find.

Don McKee, a regional birder, told the Sun Herald that this is only the second time in recent decades that a Painted Redstart has been seen in Mississippi.

This morning, it was singing a the tree, and acting territorial, unaware of its growing audience.

McKee said it looks like it plans to stick around, which means, once the word gets out, more birders will come.

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