Bird nerd alert: Rare yellow feathered cutie spotted in San Luis Valley bush for first time in over 100 years | SummitDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Bird nerd alert: Rare yellow feathered cutie spotted in San Luis Valley bush for first time in over 100 years

An extremely rare sighting of a yellow rail in Colorado sets bird-nerd world a twitter.

Michael Booth
The Colorado Sun
Suzanne Beauchaine, left, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge Manager, listens for the song of the yellow rail while other avid bird watchers look for a sighting of the elusive and rare bird on Friday, July 15, 2022.
John McEvoy/The Colorado Sun

SAN LUIS VALLEY — It might have been his car engine ticking away the summer heat that Eric DeFonso heard when he switched off the ignition in the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge on July 12.

But it was still early morning, and cool. He hadn’t driven that far from his campsite. And DeFonso had spent hundreds of hours listening to bird song CDs in his car, so he wasn’t about to get this wrong.

It was a yellow rail. Always desired by birders. Almost never seen. When birders describe the yellow rail, “secretive” and “elusive” are never more than a word away. (“Birding” magazine, 2007: “one of North America’s most elusive birds”).



Thus did Eric DeFonso become the first person to have credibly observed a yellow rail in Colorado in more than 100 years — through sound alone, a perfectly acceptable “get” for species that never show. 

Dozens of birders, Subarus stuffed with back copies of “Audubon Magazine” and phones crammed with the Sibley Guide to Birds app, immediately descended on the refuge to hear what DeFonso and others agree is a “life” bird. Meaning it’s the first time Coloradans can get a local yellow rail for their list, and likely the last. 



Read more on ColoradoSun.com.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.