Friday, May 8, 2020

Common Gallinule in Dearborn

Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata, formerly Common Moorhen, G. chloropus) is a wetland bird seen only once in Dearborn, along the Rouge River on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus on 15 May 1983 by Jim Fowler, Jr.

On 3 May 2020, Mike O'Leary got a phone call from a friend about a strange bird in his west Dearborn back yard. Lo and behold, a gallinule:

This yard is in a dense residential area, a small space with no pond, or any type of wetland for a significant distance. It's not too unusual for birds in the rail family to land in wildly inappropriate habitat during migration. This bird appeared healthy and was able to fly, and was gone by the next day. This species is currently designated as Threatened in the state of Michigan. I am the chair of the state technical committee which reviews and develops the endangered and threatened species list, and based on recent data, we will be recommending it retain this status for the next list update.

As a reminder, you can download the most recent (2019) annotated Dearborn checklist for $5. Applicable for most species for all of southeast Michigan, it gives residency status, relative abundance, and dates of occurrence for over 260 species. You can read the details about how the data were collected and what is presented in this blog post.

You can go to the download page here. You will find the 2019 version as well as the 2007 version, which contains maps, some photos and illustrations, and other material. A description for each is available by clicking on the titles; there is also an option to purchase both for a discounted price.