My Spark Bird story:
I was just getting into birding when I attended a morning bird walk at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in mid-February, 2018. As I marveled at all the bird activity on such a cold day - titmice, chickadees, nuthatches and jays bustling about foraging for food - a couple people mentioned their Snowy Owl sightings in East Boston. They said you could find them at the airport. After the walk, I took the train to Orient Heights and spent some time peering at the runways across the bay, armed only with binoculars, but at that distance there was not much for a beginning birder to find. I found nothing and returned home to my 2nd floor apartment in South Boston (a densely populated neighborhood of triple deckers, two miles from downtown), feeling a little disappointed.
It was about 5 p.m. and I was thinking about making dinner when I went into my front room to close the venetian blinds. Through the horizontal slats I saw a large, white shape atop the condo building opposite and could hardly believe my eyes - a Snowy Owl was staring back at me! Dusk was gathering and I quickly grabbed my camera to take a few shots.
I was thrilled to see this Life Bird I had chased for hours earlier that day. It struck me as quite a coincidence. I imagined the bird had spotted me and followed me home, tracking my progress on the T and then as I walked home, using its supernatural, Harry Potter-esque owl abilities. A friend later told me it was probably interested in rats in the area (it was trash night after all) and that a Snowy was once spotted in Chinatown, keeping a close eye on a dumpster in an alley.
Seeing this beautiful owl made such an impression on me that soon I was birding more and more, almost on a daily basis, mainly in my county where to date I have amassed 2,475 eBird lists with 18 sightings of Snowy Owl. Each year I look forward to my next chance to see this majestic, unique raptor with its huge, piercing yellow eyes and gorgeous white plumage (often darkly speckled, since most of the Snowies who irrupt into our area are females and immature males). I can hardly wait to feast my eyes on one again!