This beautiful girl has attained celebrity status in Seattle. Folks were excitedly flocking from all over the city to get a glimpse of a Snowy Owl so far south. When I heard the rumor that there had been Snowy Owl sightings in Seattle I immediately went on line to search. Thanks to eBird, I found exact locations on thier interactive maps where people had seen last seen the owl - the Sunset Hill neighborhood in Seattle.
As the crow flies Sunset Hill is a few miles away, but to get there I would have to take a ferry and drive about half an hour through the city. A small distance to see a bird normally found in the Arctic. So last Thursday morning I hopped on the ferry, it was a bright and cold morning. I arrived at Golden Gardens Park at noon and walked around admiring the water and mountain view. It's a lovely neighborhood full of Victorian era homes that look over the Puget Sound to the Olympics. Within minutes a friendly woman walking down the street asked if I had seen the owl yet, and if not she was two blocks down the street on the left in a large tree.
Sure enough that's exactly where she was. She was calmly observing pedestrians on the street that had stopped to watch her. Even from the street, looking up maybe 60 feet, the owl looked huge. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Snowy Owls, are one of the largest owl in North America. They venture south for the winter and some even come as far south as Seattle. They return to the Arctic in May to breed, building their nests on the ground. Depending on the amount of the food source a female Snowy Owl may lay up to 11 eggs which hatch 5 weeks later. They are voracious eaters, consuming up to 1600 lemmings a year.
After taking no less than 100 pictures of the owl, I completed the day by walking on the beach, enjoying the sun, and watching the gulls.