NAPLES — A rare sighting of a bird called a Cuban pewee has visitors flocking to Florida.
The bird, a small flycatcher, was spotted on Sept. 5 near the Long Pine Key Picnic Area in Everglades National Park. Larry Manfredi, a professional birding guide, saw it, and took photos and audio recordings. If confirmed, it will be the third confirmed sighting of the bird in the United States and the first in Everglades National Park.
Since Sept. 5, the pewee, which is native to Cuba and the Bahamas, has been seen repeatedly for several days. People have traveled from as far away as West Virginia, Indiana and California to see it, according to the park.
“Pewees are flycatchers, and they’re small and dark,” said Ted Below, an avian ecologist. “One has to be absolutely skilled and sure to be sure what kind you’re looking at.”
There are Eastern pewees in this area, Below said.
The Cuban pewee is recognized by a white crescent behind its eye and a distinctive call, described as “dee-dee-dee-dee ...” according to the park. Photographs and recordings of its song will be reviewed by the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee.
If the reaction is anything like when a rare gull was sighted on Naples Beach in the early 1970s, people will travel to see this bird, Below said. People came from as far away as Japan to see that rare gull, he said. Often the birders who travel for rare birds are obsessed with birds, and keeping a “life list” of all the species they have seen.