Tundra Native Flies To Texas

Crowds gather to see bird that usually lives in the arctic

By Reginald Hardwick
|  Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012  |  Updated 3:32 PM CDT
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This may be the first visit to DFW for the Snowy Owl, and crowds are gathering in Rowlett to see a bird that usually lives in the arctic.

Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News

This may be the first visit to DFW for the Snowy Owl, and crowds are gathering in Rowlett to see a bird that usually lives in the arctic.

Bird watchers like Geryl Mortensen could really give a "hoot" about the latest animal attraction in Rowlett.

"I'm a Dallas native and been here my whole life and never seen a Snowy Owl this far south," said Mortensen, the photo editor of Birds Afield.  "It's from the tundra, which is in the Arctic circle,
and its very rare to see one this South. Matter of fact, its only the sixth time in recorded history it's been in Texas."

Crowds of 75-100 reportedly flocked to Robertson State Park this weekend to view and photograph the owl.  On Sunday, it perched itself atop a light pole.

Daniel Lim was one of the photographers. "To be able see it, and take picture, it means the whole world to me," said Lim.

Jay Packer drove all the way from Abilene to see the bird.  "In terms of rarity, this is pretty high on the list that you might not ever get another chance to see," said Packer.

He explained that appetite is what may have driven the Snowy Owl to stop in DFW.

"They eat lemmings, a small rodent in the Arctic," Packer said. "When the lemming population is high, the owls catch lots of lemmings, they raise lots of baby owls. When the lemming population crashes, all of the sudden you've got lots of owls without enough food. And so they can come south in huge numbers."

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