Birdwatchers flock to a house in Southern California to see a rare bird of prey
ROB SCHMITZ, HOST:
Birdwatchers are flocking to a house in southern California to see a rare bird of prey.
CHRIS SPURGEON: It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
SCHMITZ: Chris Spurgeon is with the Pasadena Audubon Society.
SPURGEON: I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be able to see one in 70-degree weather, standing on a suburban street in my short sleeves.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Yeah. He drove to Orange County to see the wild snowy owl, which, as the name implies, is normally found in the Arctic. The owl stands 2 1/2 feet tall. And its wingspan is five feet.
SPURGEON: This is a large, majestic animal. And it's absolutely unmistakable. It has these bright white feathers flecked with little bits of brown in them and these piercing, piercing yellow eyes. It's a stunning, magnificent animal.
SCHMITZ: And it's a mystery how this snowy owl ended up in Southern California, thousands of miles away from its habitat. But there are theories.
SPURGEON: I like the idea that it landed on a cargo ship and just kind of relaxed and had a nice, uneventful cruise into Los Angeles, and then hopped off the ship and has started to try to make a living here in LA.
SCHMITZ: Could it have been attracted by the glitter and glam of Hollywood?
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE")
ROBBIE COLTRANE: (As Hagrid) Harry. Harry. Happy birthday.
(SOUNDBITE OF OWL SQUAWKING)
SCHMITZ: Harry Potter's feathered friend, Hedwig, is a snowy owl.
INSKEEP: Spurgeon says if Orange County's snowy owl decides to stay for a while in California, it should have no trouble finding food and making it through winter.
SPURGEON: Maybe, you know, next spring, it'll get the urge to migrate north.
SCHMITZ: For the time being, this visitor from the Arctic seems perfectly happy in sunny Orange County.
(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "HEDWIG'S THEME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.