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Blue Rock Revelation: Bird Native to Asia Spotted in the US for the First Time

The Blue Rock Thrush, Photo Courtesy Michael Sanchez

On April 21, Skyridge Middle School band director Michael Sanchez accidentally snapped a picture of a Blue Rock Thrush; a species of bird that has never been spotted before in the United States. 

Sanchez went down to Hug Point, OR to photograph waterfalls. He observed the small bird walking on the sand. Since the sun was still rising and it was still slightly dark outside, he could not see the bird’s true colors and assumed it was a plain black bird.

After editing the photo and revealing the authentic colors, Sanchez posted the photo on social media with the caption: “I’ve been messing with these pictures and this isn’t a blackbird at all, it’s a pretty cool looking blue and chestnut colored bird, does anybody know what it is?”

To his surprise, emails and messages came swarming in. 

The Blue Rock Thrush is native to Asia, and stays around Europe and Asia. It is a pretty spectacular journey for a bird to go on, across the ocean. Sanchez made history in the birder community and America, as this bird has never been spotted before in the United States. 

“It’s a really cool thing that such a little bird made it across a huge ocean, and I love talking about it,” Sanchez said. 

Several big media companies, including KOIN News, The Smithsonian,, ABC World News Tonight, The Guardian, The Register-Guard and other birding sites interviewed Sanchez. 

“I like the fame, I’m a musician, I’m a performer, it’s what I do. As well as being a teacher, I love entertaining people and telling the story about the bird and my experience with it,” Sanchez said. 

This discovery has also become a shock to many Camas High School (CHS) students. 

“It’s a bird that isn’t native to this area. Its native area is on the other side of the world, which is why it’s so cool,” CHS freshman Austin Anderson said.

The science in the discovery is what has caught the attention of students. 

“For him to discover that shows kind of how birds or other animals don’t have to stay in one specific area and as the bird migrates over to the U.S. we can enjoy its beauty,” CHS freshman Josh Lim said. 

Sanchez never considered himself a birder, he had a couple pet birds a few years back, but never thought he would be the one to discover such a rare species accidentally.

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Sophie Holtcamp
Sophie Holtcamp, Copy Editor

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