Central Park’s new celebrity owl rivals famous Mandarin duck
Central Park’s newest superstar is a total hoot.
A rare barred owl has been drawing flocks of bird watchers to the greenspace — drawing comparisons to the famous Mandarin duck of 2018.
The owl, whose flat-round face conveys a look of solemn judgment, has been spotted perched in trees next to the park’s Loch near 103rd Street since early last month, according to Manhattan birders.
Though the feathered phenom is nocturnal, it has been happy to pose and preen in broad daylight as eager fans snap photos. Bird buffs say it’s the best thing to soar into the urban jungle since the Hot Duck, which mysteriously disappeared two years ago.
“The BARRED OWL of the Central Park Loch has many devoted and respectful admirers,” the birdwatching group Manhattan Bird Alert tweeted, along with a photo of a crowd gathered around the owl.
The account, run by local birding czar David Barrett, also posted a close-up video of the owl taking a break from hunting to preen — and looking unfazed by a nearby crowd of paparazzi.
A rare barred wwl has popped up in Central Park.Twitter/@BirdCentralPark
Other fans gushed about how relaxed the animal seems in the city that never sleeps.
“This Barred Owl in Central Park took some blissful sips from the Loch stream before it froze at the sight of a perched Red-tailed Hawk. Checked the time stamps on my camera and it was standing still in this spot for 15 minutes!! What a treat, and a morning I will not soon forget,” tweeted birder Adam Cunningham.
But some birders fear throngs of photo-snapping fans could “compromise” the safety of the bird.
“Would you disclose a coveted, hidden cove on the beach?” Christian Sterling, a birder from Connecticut, told Forbes. “It compromises his position. He could be mobbed by bluejays or face competition from a hawk.”
But he added, “It’s always thrilling to see an owl.”
The owl eats rodents and other small mammals, can grow nearly 2 feet tall, has a wingspan of up to 3½ feet and is most often seen in the woods of the southeastern US, according to the National Audubon Society. They also live in parts of the Northeast, but are a rare bird indeed in the Big Apple and surrounding areas.