MARATHON, Fla. — The Audubon Society has confirmed the sighting of a Key West quail dove on Boot Key, the first time in this century that the rare bird has been seen in the Florida Keys.
But the bird's visit may have been a brief one. Bird watchers said Sunday that they had been unable to find the reddish-brown quail dove again since the first two sightings.
The pigeon-sized bird, which has a leaf-green crown and a distinctive white stripe across its face, was seen twice in the last two weeks on Boot Key, a small mangrove and tropical hardwood island off the east coast of Marathon in the Middle Keys.
The bird, which makes its nest on the ground, disappeared from the Keys in the late 1800s. It now lives primarily in the West Indies.