Las Vegas’ Bellagio helps rescue yellow-billed loon from its fountain

The unusual sighting of a yellow-billed loon, a migratory bird that normally makes its home in the Arctic and along the Pacific, in Lake Bellagio on the Strip in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (Credit: Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Trib

A rare bird made a grand entrance in Las Vegas, interrupting one of Sin City’s prominent shows Tuesday. 

The Bellagio Hotel & Casino had to work with state wildlife officials to rescue a yellow-billed loon from its iconic fountains on March 5. 

"We are happy to welcome the most exclusive guests," the hotel wrote on social media, adding, "The Fountains of Bellagio are paused as we work with state wildlife officials to rescue a Yellow-billed Loon, one of the 10 rarest birds in the U.S., that has found comfort on Las Vegas' own Lake Bellagio." 

According to the National Park Service, the yellow-billed loon is an international species of concern and is considered to be one of the 10 rarest birds that regularly breed on the mainland U.S. 

FOX Television Stations reached out to The Bellagio for comment. 

Initially, the Bellagio's fountain shows were paused while officials figured out how to proceed, an MGM Resorts International spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Wildlife officials told the Associated Press that the bird wasn't bothered and the show was cleared Tuesday to resume, but a spokesperson later told the news outlet that the shows would remain on hold.

Concerned birders called the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Southern Nevada office asking the agency to intervene, spokesperson Doug Nielsen told AP. The bird likely sought shelter from a storm, Nielsen said, noting that it isn’t uncommon for migratory birds to visit the valley.

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He said a rescue mission might be necessary if the bird stays too long, but for now, the agency plans to monitor the situation in hopes that the bird will realize it needs a more regular food source and move on.

"We’re just going give it space," Nielsen continued. "Hopefully, it’ll say: 'Gee, I’m not finding anything swimming in here, so I probably need to go.'"

During the Bellagio fountain performance, more than a thousand fountains sway in front of the hotel, enhanced by music and light. The display spans more than 1,000 feet with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air, according to the hotel.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.