01/16/2013 09:55 EST | Updated 03/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Rare bird spotted in New Westminster

Birders from as far away from Seattle are expected to pack in Queens Park in New Westminster today in the hopes of spotting the red-flanked bluetail.

The bird somehow made its way to the Lower Mainland from southern Asia and has been spotted in the park over the last few days — the first Canadian sighting of the bird.

“Sometimes they are carried by big storms, hurricanes in particular often move birds vast distances,” said local birder George Clulow.

“In this case, it’s probably just one of these — a bit of a switch in the brain has got a bit of an error in it and the bird has migrated here rather than where it would normally go.”

The bird is about the size of a sparrow with a brown head, orange-ish flanks and blue feathers near its back.

“This is the kind of sighting that birders get incredibly excited about because the bird is so rare and unusual and has come from so far away,” he said.

“Most people haven't seen one before, so people — to make a bit of a pun — are flocking out there to see it.”

Clulow says based on its plumage, the bird was likely hatched last year.