I know, it’s cold right now in the US, and the next 10 days are going to be even worse… But wait! I have never heard of a snowy owl in Central Park… At least not in the last 130 years!
Though there was a reliable report of a SNOWY OWL in Central Park in December 1890, today's owl seems to be, as we tweeted, the first *documented* with photos and certainly the first seen by many. pic.twitter.com/k2F1cb2I1k— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) January 27, 2021
And even for an avid birdwatcher: ‘It was the best, most unusual spotting I had had.‘
A week later, the rare event happened again, with social media reports from the popular Manhattan Bird Alert Twitter account documenting another sighting of a snowy owl in Central Park on Wednesday.
The SNOWY OWL was seen tonight by @zack_hample at 9:40 pm on the Central Park Reservoir North Pumphouse and then briefly in trees near it before it flew north. We are not seeing it there now, but will watch for a bit.— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) February 4, 2021
It wasn’t clear whether it was the same owl, but experts said before the second spotting that it was possible another one could come back to the area soon.
Snowy owls can be spotted every year during the winter months around the Great Lakes and Northeast. Some years, however, there are large irruption events when many birds come down from the Arctic and can be more widely spotted. In some of the rarest of cases, they have been reported in Florida and Bermuda.
It’s just as likely that another snowy owl appears in Central Park tomorrow as it is that another documented case doesn’t occur again for another 130 years. They’re just really unpredictable.