MENTOR, Ohio — There’s a rare bird called a limpkin, usually found in Florida, that was spotted at Veterans Park in Lake County on Monday, according to Lake Metroparks.
Local bird watcher Sally Isacco first spotted the bird, which led to the news circulating among bird watchers in Northeast Ohio.
Native to Florida and South and Central America, a limpkin is a wading bird that looks like a cross between a sandpiper and a sandhill crane.
John Pogacnik, a biologist at Lake Metroparks, said this is the second sighting of limpkin this year, with the first one found at Mentor Marsh on July 3.
"It was really neat seeing a limpkin up close in a location that it usually isn't found in," Pogacnik said.
The limpkin’s main diet is apple snails, but since there has been an increase of non-native snails, the limpkin can expand its range, which has resulted in them breeding in Georgia and also in North Carolina.
While many birds and butterflies migrate south in the fall, like herons, the limpkin wanders in other directions rather than the south, dispersing well north of their typical range.
Pogacnik said a limpkin has been present in the Magee Marsh area in Ottawa County for more than a month.
Last year, it was the Roseate spoonbills to disperse northward, with many found in Ohio that were well north of their typical range.