A rare snowy owl from the Arctic is touring monuments across Washington DC, with several birdwatchers flocking to catch a glimpse of the creature. The owl is quite far from its summer breeding grounds in Canada and was first seen during a winter storm that dumped eight inches of snow across the city.
Since then, it’s been spotted several evenings flying around Washington’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, landing on Union Station, the National Postal Museum, various Senate buildings, and Capitol Police headquarters.
Late about three dozen people in thick coats trained their binoculars on the football-sized bird with bright yellow eyes as it perched on the stone head of Archimedes, a famous ancient Greek mathematician, carved above the train station entrance.
The nocturnal hunter appears to be targeting the city’s plentiful downtown rat population.
Since it was first seen, the Capitol Hill owl has attracted a few dozen birdwatchers each night hoping to spot the same owl species that delivers messages to Harry Potter.
The onlookers have included new birdwatchers and those who have been doing it for decades, like Swiss ambassador to the U.S., Jacques Pitteloud, many hoping for a “lifer” — the first time a birdwatcher has seen a particular bird.