One of the most interesting aspects of knowing one’s avifauna is being able to recognize birds that don’t belong. Case in point, I received an e-mail the other day from Levittown, NY of all places with the following photo and a couple more like it:
Photo by Joe Weinman
Joe, the photographer, and his daughter encountered this handsome fowl in his yard. He snapped one photo as it flew from his roof to his neighbor’s roof. Then, he followed the bird to a grassy area across the street for a few more shots. Understandably, he was curious about what kind of bird this was.
The bird in question is a Chukar (Alectoris chukar), a Eurasian species of partridge. The Chukar is quite an unexpected sighting on Long Island, since this upland gamebird, the National Bird of Pakistan, is not even remotely native to North America. Instead, this bird is almost certainly an escapee from a game farm or zoo. It is a beauty though! Levittown, by the way, was the first truly mass-produced suburb and is widely regarded as the archetype for postwar suburbs throughout the country.
Chukar on a rampage, Photo by Joe Weinman