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How one bird brought a West Kootenay community together on a rainy day

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David Dudeck’s “star of the show,” the Indigo Bunting he spotted near the Trail airport last month. Photo: David Dudeck

A dreary Monday in the Dudeck home had an unexpectedly cheerful turnaround last week when a Trail Times reader took great interest in a particular bird photo David Dudeck shared with the newspaper on May 31.

On page 9 under “Beautiful Basin Birds,” the caption reads “This may be a Mountain Bluebird,” as neither David nor the Times were certain of the species in-question, a small bird with an interesting blue and brownish feather pattern.

Gwen Nicol, a birder in the Trail area for many years, called the Times about this handsome looking bird the morning of Monday, June 13, asking to get hold of the photographer. The Times then connected the two.

Curious how this story would end, the Times asked David for a follow up.

He said after an engaging conversation with Gwen that afternoon, and further speculation that the bird might be a blue grosbeak, the quest to identify the avian wonder kept going for another day.

Gwen suggested David should contact Janice Arndt, a Nelson wildlife biologist who has been watching birds in the Kootenays for over 20 years, which he gladly did.

“She (Janice) also thought this was a bird of interest,” David continued.

Janice then sent David’s photo and sighting information to Gary Davidson, a Nakusp-based bird expert, and current president of the BC Field Ornithologists.

“And he thought this looked like an Indigo Bunting,” explained David.

Even more intriguing is the rarity of spotting this type of bird.

Gary told David he was unaware of any recorded sightings of an Indigo Bunting in the Kootenay Boundary region, so he also sought the opinion of a friend to back up his identification.

In the end, this small mostly blue bird was identified as an Indigo Bunting.

And David’s photo is, in fact, documented proof of the rare sighting.

“From the initial request to you from Gwen Nicol to speak to me because she thought the bird might be rarely seen around here, and the involvement of other experienced birders, this was a great experience,” David told the Times.

“I’ve learned firsthand that there is a very knowledgeable and active birding community,” he adds.

“So, I give thanks to all these people for expanding my knowledge of birds and the interesting chain of events after taking a photograph.”

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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