ASHEBORO, N.C. – North Carolina Zoo workers are still asking the public to call in any sightings of the missing Secretary Birds that escaped from their habitat more than a month ago, in May.
Diane Villa, the Zoo’s director of communications says they were last seen on Thursday, spotted flying over Randleman Lake in the Sophia area of Randolph County.
Over the past couple of weeks, one of the birds has been spotted as far away as Sanford. While they’re not migratory birds, the bird curator at the Zoo, Debbie Zombeck, says they can fly as far as 20 miles in a day looking for food.
Two African Secretary Birds Escape NC Zoo
Another problem in tracking them down – people mistaking them for Great Blue Herons.
“Most recently we've contracted with a USDA Wildlife Services biologist, who started working for us early last week,” said Zombeck, “She is responding to every hotline call, talking to people who call on the sightings to determine if it's an accurate sighting because there are other birds out there that look like Secretary Birds.”
They say the hotline is still open, and they’re getting between five and ten calls a day with possible sighting information. That number is (336) 879-7610, and it is checked routinely, according the zoo workers.
The Zoo asks people to still, observe from a distance if you see them – and do not approach them.