Rare snowy owls spotted in Colorado are drawing crowds beyond the birding community | SummitDaily.com

Rare snowy owls spotted in Colorado are drawing crowds beyond the birding community

By Jenn Fields / The Denver Post

In this Dec. 14, 2017 photo, a snowy owl flies away after being released along the shore of Duxbury Beach in Duxbury, Mass. This month, snowy owls were listed as vulnerable — one step away from endangered — by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They’re protected in the U.S. under the Migratory Bird Act.

The first of the snowy owls were spotted in Colorado in December, so birder Susan Perry was a bit late to the game, but she didn't miss the party.

Local birders were atwitter at the sudden appearance of a snowy owl along the shores of Standley Lake in Westminster late last month, posting photos of this white visitor from the far north on birding sites and Facebook.

The fuss over the bird still hadn't cooled by Saturday, when the owl decided to hang out in plain sight on suburban rooftops in the neighborhood next to the lake, just east of Wayne Carle Middle School. Perry had no trouble finding the bird when she pulled into the neighborhood — a crowd of 30 or so people were out on the street talking, taking photos and just watching the yellow-eyed interloper.

Another birder, who had set up a spotting scope on a tripod, was offering up-close peeks at the owl. Perry shot a photo through the eyepiece.

"A bird like this could make you a birder," Perry said Tuesday evening, when she was back in the neighborhood, trying to catch one more glimpse. "It's a pretty big deal for me."

Since December, Colorado birders have reported snowy owl sightings in several places around the state at eBird.org, a worldwide citizen-science reporting project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Only two of the birds seem to be hanging out, though: the one at Standley Lake and another at Lake Pueblo State Park.

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