“You’re a wizard, Harry!”
Seems like someone’s about to enroll in a school of witchcraft and wizardry in California.
Birdwatchers and photographers alike gathered in a suburban neighborhood in California to witness a very rare wintery treat recently.
The warm California winter welcomed an arctic bird of prey, the snowy owl, a species that was last seen in the area around 100 years ago.
Onlookers couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the large unusual sighting.
“It’s a beautiful bird. It’s got beautiful talons and feathers on its feet that look like snow boots,” said Trude Hurd, project director of Sea and Sage Audubon Society in Orange county.
People theorize that the bird may have come in on a boat into a port somewhere nearby, then it just somehow flew away, or maybe it was blown off course due to the intense winds from a recent storm, to the residential neighborhood where it’s been sighted and photographed.
Good morning from the Cypress Snowy Owl, before the rain, teasing us and not flying 😇 🦉 pic.twitter.com/6RTjS4WU0M
— Brett “Solidarity 2022” Banditelli (@banditelli) January 14, 2023
“I consider it an honor to be able to see the bird,” said a local resident.
“It’s so exciting to see a bird that does not belong here,” said another.
“Most of the northwest U.S. did just experience a blizzard/storm this past weekend, so there’s a possibility it could have followed the cold front down,” said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The roof where the arctic owl currently resides has become quite a tourist spot, with birdwatchers coming in with their huge cameras. But the owner of the house doesn’t seem bothered by it, even letting someone climb up their roof to get a regurgitated pellet that the owl expelled.
‘I consider it an honor to be able to see the bird’ — This snowy owl, which normally lives in the Arctic tundra, has birdwatchers flocking to California 🦉 pic.twitter.com/PFL4b9WTyG
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 7, 2023
According to a report from The Guardian, the crowd in the neighborhood sometimes numbers as many as 60 people. But even with those numbers, the crowd was so silent that “you could hear a pin drop,” said Hurd.
The now famous snowy owl seems to be doing well despite being out of place in the suburbs. The Cypress city officials said that they have no plans on removing the owl from the neighborhood.
Experts believe that the owl will migrate back north around March or April. If you want to take a peek and witness the majestic raptor before it goes away, keep a distance of 100 ft and avoid flash photography so as not to disturb the snowy owl.