RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If you’re heading to North Carolina’s coast, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for a bird that rarely makes appearances in the area.

A masked booby, one of the few year-round residents of the park, soars above Hospital Key.
Judd Patterson, NPS

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore said the masked booby made an appearance on Ocracoke Island this week. The bird typically calls the tropical open ocean home.

Park officials said the bird was likely brought to the area by the effects of tropical storm Alex.

The National Audubon Society reports the masked booby are most often found off the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts. They are also common in the northwestern chain of the Hawaiian islands. They are also known visitors to the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

According to the National Audubon Society, the birds forage over warm waters, shallow or deep, sometimes hundreds of miles from land. The seabirds nests on low flat islands with little or no vegetation. The society says they can be seen nesting on a small sandy islands in Florida.