This rare snowy owl wound up in O.C.; take a look

Flocks of bird lovers flock to a west Orange County neighborhood to ogle at a snowy owl. Emerging around Christmas Day, the North Pole native perched on a cypress canopy, offering photo opportunities that were unusual, almost embarrassing, comfortable.

A bird with wings outstretched in the air above a roof.

The owl flies off the roof of a house in Orange County.

(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)

Chris Spurgeon of the Pasadena Audubon Society suspects the rare birdlike visitor, rarely seen south of the Canadian border, may have been blown thousands of miles off course by a storm, or perhaps cruised on a freighter into the nearby Long Beach/San Pedro port complex would.

“They shouldn’t be here — they don’t usually venture further south than Oregon,” he said, taking stock of the nearly 2-foot-tall bird with its round head and piercing yellow eyes on a recent afternoon.

People, some with very large cameras, stand on a suburban street.

Bird watchers, some with camera gear, flocked from across Southern California to see the snowy owl in Cypress.

(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)

“Glory seems to suit him,” Spurgeon said of the Arctic’s largest avian predator, which was undeterred by the commotion it caused on the sidewalk below as birders armed with telephoto lenses and spotting scopes jostled for position seemed to be.

A white bird sits on a roof; there are black birds nearby.

A snowy owl is harassed by crows in Cypress on Friday.

(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)

Among the bird watchers was South Bay photographer Sheila Parker, who received a call Wednesday from a friend in Pennsylvania who said a snowy owl had reportedly been spotted atop a home in Cypress.

A snowy owl sits on a roof.

As a visitor to the North Pole, the owl began its visit during the Christmas holidays.

(Raul Roa/Los Angeles Times)

“I thought, ‘Well, unless I see it with my own eyes, I’ll never know for sure,'” Parker said. “So I packed my camera gear and hit the road.”

She stepped closer to snap a few pictures worth showing to friends, noting, “It’s not the rarest bird I’ve seen, but it’s certainly the most out of place.” This rare snowy owl wound up in O.C.; take a look

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