Rare Bird Alert: “Mega-rarity” Snowy Owl makes a stop in Central Park

It’s tough to impress a New Yorker, but birders there were positively a flutter Wednesday when a Snowy Owl was spotted hanging around Central Park.

Manhattan Bird Alert sent out the notice shortly before 9 am, which naturally sent bird nerds flocking to see the unusual sight so far south.

The photos people snapped of the beautiful owl in this most odd setting were incredible.

Also on hand, Central Park’s Urban Park Rangers to control crowds.

And as the Manhattan Bird Alert group put it, to “educate people about this wondrous visitor from the north!”

Rangers even set up a scope to help those without telephoto lenses capture images of the owl.

Probably 100 people enjoyed some Midtown bird watching over the course of several hours.

And people did keep a respectful distance .

David Barrett, who runs the popular social media account, suggested that Tuesday’s snow and cold to the north likely encouraged this northern owl to fly south in search of better hunting conditions.

“These owls like flat lands and beaches, so the Central Park North Meadow, flat and with sand-filled fields, might have appealed,” he tweeted.

Snowy Owl habitat map of North America. Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

While the Snowy Owl range can extend down to New York in winter, it’s certainly a rare sight.

So rare, in fact, Manhattan Bird Alert dug up records reporting that a Snowy Owl hadn’t been seen in Central Park since 1890. Yes, 1890.

The bird hung around long enough to be pestered by some crows, a red-tailed hawk and a Cooper’s hawk.

The interactions also created some memorable images in urban wildlife adventures.

People were unbelievably grateful to get the alert.

Since, well, it might not happen for another 130 years.

Main Photo: Manhattan Bird Alert/Twitter

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