- (PHOTO: Reuters/U.S. Fish&Wildlife Service/Handout)
Ever since reports of a rare snowy owl was making appearances in the Dallas-metro area bird enthusiasts are flocking to catch a glimpse at this elusive bird.
The owl was spotted earlier this month in Robertson Park at Lake Ray Hubbard. Dallas police officer David Renfro was one of the lucky ones who saw the bird while he was patrolling Lake Ray Hubbard on Feb. 11.
The reason that this was a profound coincidence for Renfro is that he is also an amateur birdwatcher, and his sighting was reported to be the first of a snowy owl in Texas since the 1950s, as reported by KXAN.
"I tell you what, I'm just totally overwhelmed," he said. "When I first saw it, I could feel my heart start pumping because I recognized what it was immediately. He's awesome."
Renfro sent images of the owl to Jesse Ellis, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who studies owl behavior.
Ellis confirmed the sighting and alerted eBird, an online checklist provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.
Photographer Geryl Mortensen who visited the park once said that it's phenomenal to see a snowy owl in an urban setting, according to the Dallas Morning Star.
When the Texas Bird Records Committee accepts and records the sighting, it will be only the sixth snowy owl documented in the state, according Jim Peterson, former curator of birds at what is now the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science.
Steve Gross, president of the Texas Ornithological Society, which oversees the Texas Bird Records Committee, made the trip from Houston to watch the owl which would be the 524th species of bird he has seen in Texas.
Snowy owls have migrated to their usual spots this year, to states such as Minn., Mo., S.D. and Wash. But this year, the owls have traveled further south and have been spotted in Neb., Kan., Okla. and Texas, Gross said.