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Nature News: Snow owl spotted in Central Park, New York

By Simer Dhume

In a rare sighting, a beautiful snow owl was spotted this week strolling in Central Park. The bird attracted a crowd of about 100 birdwatchers, a territorial hawk, and several crows.

Spotted on a west ballfield of the Central Park North Meadow, this perhaps is the first-ever documentation of the species, with its new buddy, the American crow.

Interestingly, it is for the first time since 1890 that a snow owl is spotted in the Park. A birder who runs the Twitter account Manhattan Bird Alert read about an owl sighting on a tracking site and sounded the alarm, reports New York Times. As hoards of people flocked to the park with cameras and spotting scopes, and some with binoculars, in moments, a megastar-celebrity was born in the Manhattan birding community. Following its successors Rocky the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree owl from last year and the superstar Mandarin duck that ruled the park and the world’s social-media fed in 2018.

Snow owl with its buddy, the American crow | Photo credit: Manhattan bird alert twitter

As the baseball fields are fenced off in winter to let the grass regrow, the crush of onlookers was kept a couple of hundred feet away from the owl, but that did not stop at least one person from cheating, reports New York Times.

“Someone was trying to get that overhead photo,” from about 50 feet in the air. “The owl was aware of it. It was stressing it out,” said Dan Tainow, a Parks Department ranger.

A snow owl is a rare sight, especially in an urban park setting. Nonetheless, birdwatchers must maintain distance and ensure our behavior doesn’t impact theirs.

Spectators identified the snowy owl as a young female because of its thick black stripes. EJ Bartolazo/ via Associated Press

On Thursday, the snow owl with thick black bars, classic for a young female bird, was nowhere in sight, perhaps taking off on its journey ahead.

News source:

New York Times & Time Out

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