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

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Birders search for elusive Snowy Owl in Central Park
Birders were out in Central Park Thursday searching for a rare visitor, a Snowy Owl, that was spotted in the park the day before.

CENTRAL PARK, Manhattan (WABC) -- People out enjoying Central Park Wednesday were graced with a once in a lifetime sight, a Snowy Owl.

The bird was spotted on a baseball field in the North Meadow and pictures of the rare visitor flooded social media soon after its arrival.

Experts say it's the first time this breed has been spotted in the park since 1890 and the first time with actual photographic proof.

"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," said Molly Adams of the Audubon Society.

@gigpalileo on Twitter

The Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralParkon Twitter) tells Eyewitness News:

"They 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. 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.

They cannot be considered common in New York State, but there are places that tend to get an owl or two every year in winter. Airport runways are another favorite, all over the state."

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."

Bea Schwartz was back in Central Park Thursday hoping to see what she saw Wednesday.

"I thought it was a beautiful bird," Schwartz said. "It was nice see people out enjoying something that wasn't pandemic related, everyone was just joyful about this bird."

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