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The ‘Devil Bird’ Lands in New York, With More Likely to Come

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For two weeks, a strange bird has perched in Brooklyn over the treetops of one of the Three Sisters Islands in Prospect Park Lake. It shows no signs of heading back to the place it most likely came from in the South.

Meet the anhinga, a large water bird with a snaky neck that has joined other high-profile vagrant birds in recent years by making a rare appearance outside of its typical migration range.

The bird’s name comes from the Tupi Indian language of Brazil and means “devil bird.” And according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it’s not from around here: Anhingas in the United States generally range from the Southern states along the gulf coast to Texas, stretching into the Carolinas in the summer.

The Prospect Park anhinga is the first devil bird observed in Kings County, and only the second sighting in New York City since 1992. When Radka Osickova first spotted it with the Brooklyn Bird Club, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“What kind of a weird heron is that over there?” she recalls asking.

Researchers say that this rogue anhinga didn’t merely veer off course,…

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