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New Yorkers spot rare gull on Coney Island

Seagulls are common on Coney Island, but the recent sighting of the gray-hooded gull, a bird that is native to Africa or South America, drew crowds of people from as far away as Chicago, The New York Times reports.

Bird enthusiasts hauled cameras to the beach to spot a bird that has only been spotted one other time in the United States - in December 1998. First seen by Douglas B. McNair in Franklin County, Florida, the recent sighting has raised questions of how the gull got there and when.

According to McNair's report on his sighting, the gull had an upright posture, and had a moderately long and thick beak. Both beak and feet were carmine, he reported. Birders are saying the same about the Coney Island gull.

Rob Fanning, one birder who drove from New Jersey to see the gull, says that if the bird was someone's pet or escaped from a zoo, it would not be considered an official sighting by the American Birding Association, the news source reports. There have been no animal rescue efforts for this wild bird, but an additional review process is in place to determine its origin. 
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