Snowy owl makes rare appearance in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A snowy owl is making a rare appearance in Northeast Florida.

One of the Arctic birds arrived last week in Little Talbot Island State Park and the latest sighting was Friday morning. It's only the third-ever sighting of a snowy owl confirmed in Florida.

Park services specialist Peter Maholland says bird watchers have been flocking to northeast Florida to catch a glimpse of the white bird.

"All of our birding enthusiasts are just excited, as you can imagine, to come and see something they probably wouldn't have had the chance to see in their lifetime," Maholland said. "So everyone is coming from all over the place."

IMAGES: People flock to park to get look, photos

Snowy Owls are familiar to children as Harry Potter's pet. They are the largest North American owl, and they're typically found in Canada and the Arctic.

While park officials encourage people to come see the bird, bring binocularsor a cane with a camera with a long lens because they are keeping peoplea good distance away to make sure the owl doesn't get spooked or stressed.

"Having it this far south is is just very unusual," Maholland said.

Experts say snowy owls fly farther south when their population spikes or their food source becomes scarce. An invasion of snowy owls has been reported this winter across the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

If you're interested in seeing the bird, do so soon, because no one knows how long it will stay. Also, stay a good distance away so the owl isn't spooked.

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Lifetime Floridian anchors weekends and reports weekdays on issues in Nassau and Baker counties and beyond.