Mystery Hummingbird Spotted in Oak Park

Strange bird found far from home

By Diane Znamierowski
|  Monday, Nov 28, 2011  |  Updated 8:43 AM CDT
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Bird watchers in Oak Park are all aflutter about a rare breed of bird flying into the midwest.

Eric Gyllenhaal and his two sons were the first to spot the Oak Park hummingbird. They kept a bird feeder in their back yard for last-minute stragglers flying south for the season, according to the Sun-Times.

Experts believe the mysterious bird might be a broad-tailed hummingbird. It typically breeds in the Rocky Mountains and flies south to Central America to spend the winter. It's never been spotted in Illinois before.

Some speculate the mystery bird is a hybrid of two different hummingbird species.

Now Chicago's Field Museum will test the bird's droppings for DNA. The procedure has never been done before on a hybrid hummingbird.

If the young male bird is indeed a hybrid, scientists say it will teach us a lot about how hummingbirds have adapted to extreme challenges.

More than 120 people have visited the Oak Park home to see the rare bird since the Gyllenhaals first reported the sighting online last week.

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