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

Animals USA6. February 2021

Rare Sight: a Snowy Owl Makes a Pit Stop in Manhattan

The New York borough of Manhattan, United States, welcomed a rare visitor: a snowy owl landed in Central Park for the first time since 1890, to the delight of birdwatchers and enthusiasts.

It’s a mega-rarity,” says Kellye Rosenheim, director of development at the National Audubon Society in New York. “This is a very important sighting. It’s extremely rare in Manhattan.”

Usually, snowy owls barely cross the U.S.-Canada border and prefer chilly shores, open fields, and airports. This young female snowy owl identified thanks to its thick black stripes, seemed to have mistaken the sandy baseball diamond for a beach. The bird always looks for habitats that resemble its tundra home in the Arctic of northern Canada.

A crowd of excited birders was able to look at the majestic animal from a respectful distance since the baseball field was already fenced. “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,” says Molly Adams, Audubon’s outreach manager.


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