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Snowy Owl Spotted In New York’s Central Park For First Time In 130 Years

by : Cameron Frew on :
Snowy Owl Spotted In New York's Central Park For First Time In 130 YearsBirdCentralPark/Twitter

A snowy owl has been spotted in New York’s Central Park for the first time in 130 years.

On Wednesday morning, January 27, reports of a snowy owl sighting started circulating social media in the Big Apple. Bird-watching Twitter account Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) first sounded the alarm, writing, ‘A SNOWY OWL, a mega-rarity for Central Park, is now in the middle of the North Meadow ballfields.’

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Last seen in 1890, it became a crowd-gathering event in the park, with photos and videos of the raptor flooding in online.

Some believed this was the first time one had ever been seen in the park, especially with photographic evidence. Molly Adams of the Audubon Society told ABC7, ‘Seeing the snowy owl is like winning the lottery, especially if you’re new to birding and you’d never seen a snowy owl it definitely felt like winning the lottery yesterday in central park.’

Tweets with photos of the amazing owl have been racking up hundreds, if not thousands of likes and shares. One user wrote, ‘I mean, really, I had to put up some #snowyowl photos. Just couldn’t help myself. What a great day!’

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Another tweeted, ‘An unforgettable experience seeing this snowy owl in Central Park today. Love its feathery feet. Shots capture one of the many times it was being harassed by a Red-Tailed Hawk.’

The birder behind the Manhattan Bird Alert account explained to the outlet how snowy owls ‘breed in the Arctic Tundra and travel south in November. They do so for reasons that are not entirely understood, but likely move to find more abundant prey’.

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They added, ‘Some years bring few owls, some many. The move is called an irruption. In the last decade snowy owls have been regular, annual visitors to the area, most commonly Long Island’s south shore. The ocean expanse halts their flights. And the owls like to hunt on beaches, so it works out. Jones Beach and Breezy Point are two common ones.’

Others shared images of the owl ‘not moving an inch’ despite an invasive crow flying around it. Most people were simply delighted to potentially witness a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ sight.

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While there’s yet to be photos from today, reporter Andrew Ramos wrote, ‘It came. It saw. It mystified Central Park. Now it appears the rare snowy owl that paid a visit this week to the delight of many birders, has flown the coop. The good news – it left a trail of memories for those who caught a glimpse’.

Manhattan Bird Alert added, ‘It is extremely unlikely that we will ever see another snowy owl in our lifetimes in Central Park. Remember, the last one was over 100 years ago. Though more people observe birds now. But *this* particular snowy owl could be back tomorrow. I will be looking for it. As will many others.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Birds, Central Park, New York, Now

Credits

ABC7 and 1 other
  1. ABC7

    Snowy Owl in Central Park gives visitors once in a lifetime sight

  2. Manhattan Bird Alert/Twitter

    @BirdCentralPark