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Rare falcated duck wows bird watchers in California

January 16, 2012 |  9:46 am

A male falcated duck -- an extremely rare sight in the United States -- is making an unusual appearance in California, drawing bird watchers to the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge north of Sacramento.

The bird, which is common in China, was first spotted Dec. 8 and has since attracted thousands of avid birders hoping to catch a glimpse of the nomadic teal.

"We have had people fly in from Florida and Canada,"  Brandee Bethard, an intern at the refuge, told the Sacramento Bee. "It is very rare here." 

The term "falcated" refers to the duck's wing feathers, which are curved and taper to its tail.

A falcated duck was spotted in Orange County in 1969 and Lassen County in 2002 and 2003, the Bee said, citing bird-watching blogs.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the bird may soon leave the refuge for a new spot due to winter storms expected to pass through the area this week.

"If you want to see it, you better come this week,"  Mike Peters, manager for the Colusa refuge, told the Chronicle.

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-- Kimi Yoshino

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