Press-Republican

Local News

December 31, 2008

Rare hawk owl attracting tourists to region

'I read about it on the Internet and thought I'd head up'

Staff Writer



PERU — Bitter winds whipped across the open field, sending clouds of freshly fallen snow over the landscape and forming occasional white-outs.



Several vehicles lined the shoulder of Clark Road in Peru, their occupants huddled inside with all eyes searching the adjacent fields for a glimpse of a very special visitor to the North Country.



COMING FROM AFAR

Over the past several days, bird-watching enthusiasts have been watching a northern hawk owl that has found the apple-tree dotted fields a prime location for its winter roost. And the news of this bird's arrival has spread far and wide.



"I read about it on the Internet, and with a day off today, I thought I'd head up here and check it out," said Tom Millard, from Hewitt, N.J., who left from home at 4 a.m. Tuesday for a chance at a glimpse of the rare bird.



"I'd like to add this to my list of birds that I've seen," he added, noting that he has spotted about 350 species in his bird-watching career.



Millard had been on site for about three hours but had not spotted the visitor by noontime. He spent time visiting with some of the other birders who had also been drawn to the spot, along with a local resident who told him she has been seeing the bird quite regularly.



"Hopefully, he'll show up sooner or later," Millard said.



'BEAUTIFUL CREATURES'

Bernie and Chris Grossman traveled to Peru from Schenectady with their bird-watching friend Bill Lee Thursday after hearing of the bird's presence on a Web site discussion area at birdingonthe.net.



"There is a whole network of birders interested in this kind of a sighting," Bernie said. "This is a unique bird, not known for being in this area, so it's bound to attract interest."

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