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‘It’s beautiful’: Rare snowy owl spotted in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood

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The snowy owl, hardly ever seen this far south, has been drawing excited crowds to Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood.

SEATTLE — A uncommon snowy owl has been noticed in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, and the brand new resident is aware of how to attract a crowd.

The stark-white chicken has spent a number of days hanging round rooftops within the space, earlier than winging off at sundown. On Tuesday, a small group of birdwatchers gathered in an alley to observe the creature.

Amongst these onlookers have been 9-year-old Max and his neighbor Aditi. Max has been bird-watching for a couple of months now, and went looking when he heard it was close by. He did not need to go far — they discovered it simply blocks from dwelling.

“I feel it’s stunning. And there was an professional right here yesterday, they usually have been saying this can be a once-in-a-lifetime chicken,” younger Max mentioned.

The chicken possible has traveled an extended distance. Seattle and western Washington are alongside the southern fringe of the snowy owl’s regular winter vary, in accordance with Cornell College’s assets on ornithology.

However in “irruptive” years, they’ve been identified to vary additional south primarily based on prey and have been documented so far as Florida and Texas in excessive years.

“In a pandemic yr, if it needs to return to Queen Anne, I’ll take it,” mentioned Carl Bergstrom, professor of biology on the College of Washington and avid birder.

He went searching for and located the owl earlier this week, sharing a picture on Twitter.

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“I’ve been birding for 49 years, and I’ve by no means seen one earlier than,” Bergstrom mentioned. “So it’s actually thrilling to see a chicken that’s normally up on the frozen tundra, to have it come down and provides us an opportunity to expertise it’s wonderful.”

Hannah Toutonghi is engaged on her grasp’s diploma in Minnesota finding out Northern hawk owls. She stopped by Queen Anne on Tuesday.

“For birders, it’s a outstanding ‘life-list’ owl they need to see, in order that they’ll go up into Canada, up into Alaska – form of the boreal forests to see one,” Toutonghi mentioned. “However for an on a regular basis individual, it’s fairly uncommon.”

Washington Division of Fish and Wildlife notes snowy owls have been noticed wintering in Seattle in previous years, although it’s nonetheless uncommon. The division additionally asks that anybody having fun with its presence preserve their distance for the owl’s security.

That was no drawback Tuesday, as vans of households rolled up searching for the animal, and a small group educated binoculars and digital camera lenses on the roof roost.

The owl calmly watched from the roof, preening and staring again with its massive golden eyes.

“It’s simply been standing there as a mannequin, ready for individuals to take photos of it for some time now,” Max mentioned.

And many individuals simply appreciated the uplifting picture in a troublesome time.

“What I beloved about it’s everybody simply obtained hooked into this stunning chicken,” Max mentioned. “It’s now made The Seattle Instances, it’s made KING 5!”

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