“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.
“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.
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.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.