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Bird Watching Community Chirps With Excitement Over West Village Visitor

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A rare find in Manhattan has the bird watching community chirping with excitement.

Cameras weren't lined up to spot anyone famous, instead the bird paparazzi were out in the West Village on Monday, to snap a shot of the Couch's Kingbird.

"I came down here about 9 in the morning. There were about 80 people, everybody thought there were movie stars around, but the celebrity was the bird in the tree," Debbie Becker, said.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, Zack Winestine was the first to spot it.

"It's not a Yellow Kingbird, it's a Couch's Kingbird, which have never been seen in New York, and to a birder, quite a big deal," Winestine said.

Sherry Felix with the Linnaean Society of New York pointed out the yellow and greenish-grey bird is native to southern Texas and Mexico.

"New York is a funny place, because of the migration path a lot of birds you wouldn't expect to see get here," Linnaean said.

Flocks of birders gathered near Abingdon Square for a chance sighting.

"It was like a flash mob except we were all carrying cameras and binoculars," Felix said.

"The thrill is never knowing what you are going to find," Gabriel Willow, New York Audubon Society, said.

The bird watchers communicate on social media and work in teams so they won't miss the rarity take flight.

"He heard about it through e-bird," one watcher said, "My son is camped out at the other park, so if either one of us sees the bird we will call each other."

The Couch's Kingbird is a flycatcher.

"It's an insect eater, so there are probably as many flies here as anywhere else," Willow said.

"It's hard to believe that a bird such as this that lives in Guatemala would be up here in the West Village looking for insects," Becker added.

Birders say the Couch's Kingbird could be hiding out in a warmer area like someone's private garden on their balcony, so for now they are keeping their eyes to the sky.

The New York Audubon Society has over 9,000 members.

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