Valuable toucan spotted flying free around Alpine - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Valuable toucan spotted flying free around Alpine

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A rare sighting of a tropical bird flying around Alpine has residents on the lookout.

It’s been almost a week since the first sighing of the valuable toucan and photos posted on the Alpine Community Network Facebook page are going viral.

They show the toucan perched in a tree.

“He was beautiful and he was very colorful,” said neighbor Kim Carr, who took the photos. “At first I thought it was a woodpecker.”

Carr snapped the pictures Thursday at her house off Tavern Road.

“We left some fruit out for him and we never saw him again but the fruit is gone. The kids Googled toucan noises and they were walking all over the property with their phones in the air with the toucan noises playing,” said Carr.

Kim's husband actually saw the bird two days earlier on Tuesday, August 9th, so it's been almost a week since the first sighting.

“My wife and the kids were there for a few minutes and got some good pictures of it and then it flew away,” said Kim’s husband J.J. Carr.

Experts identified the bird as a keel-billed toucan, which almost certainly was raised in captivity and somehow escaped. But nobody has come forward to say they’ve lost the bird.

“It is very strange that nobody's come forward. Those are very expensive birds and not typically seen out in the wild like that,” said bird lover Jessica Ambriz

The posts on the Alpine Facebook page include phone numbers to call if neighbors spot the bird again.

Toucans like to eat papaya and blueberries, according to North County toucan breeder Chris Estep. The lost bird may also be thirsty.

Estep said it may be possible to lure the bird out of a tree with another toucan of the same breed.

“I wouldn't try to catch it yourself unless you're an experienced bird owner,” said Ambriz. “If you don't know what you're doing you could hurt the bird as well as hurt yourself.”

Experts estimate the toucan can be worth between $5,000 and $7,000 and they are concerned the bird may not survive too long in the wild.

“If he’s in critical condition, he’s going to be fluffed up and on a low branch or possibly on the ground,” said Ambriz.

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