Rare Blue-Footed Booby Mysteriously Appears in LA County

The elusive bird comes from warmer southerly waters and hasn't been seen in Los Angeles County since 2007.

Flickr/Anne Haase

A seabird rarely seen in the U.S. has mysteriously descended on Southern California, and bird watchers are scrambling to catch a glimpse before the bird vanishes.

The Blue-footed Booby, a brown-and-white bird with distinctive bright blue feet, is native to the warmer waters of Mexico and can be found along coasts as south as Peru. But the birds have recently been spotted in small flocks along the coast of central and southern California.

It's been spotted for the first time in Los Angeles County since 2007.

"No one really knows why and so people are kind of going nuts," said Daniel Cooper, a Los Angeles-based independent biologist and consultant. "These things they disappear and maybe you won't see them for another 1,500 years."

The reports of Blue-footed Booby sightings have caused a stir among bird watchers. On Wednesday morning, Cooper said four appeared in Marina del Rey.

"It has that goofy sort of seabird look," Cooper said. "It just kind of looks silly."

The birds' arrival could be due to changing food sources or water temperatures, or the species could be in the middle of a northern expansion, Coopers said.

So, where can Southern Californians see the elusive Blue-footed Booby?

"It's somewhat unpredictable," Cooper said. "Anywhere where they can see pelicans, they have a good shot of seeing a booby."

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