Here’s an excerpt from the BlueRidgeNow article:
ROSMAN — When Ricky Maybin first saw the white bird Saturday as he drove down his driveway off Calvert Road, he thought perhaps it was one of the barn owls that nest on his 12-acre farm.
“I knew it was an owl, but I never dreamed of it being a snowy owl,” Maybin said. After all, who would think they’d see an arctic predator thousands of miles south of its native range? And the auto mechanic surely never imagined the owl in his yard would put the birding world all atwitter. …
By Monday, at least 300 birders from as far away as South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee had descended on Maybin’s farm in the upper French Broad River valley to glimpse the rare owl, the first known sighting of a snowy owl in Western North Carolina in modern history.
“I just can’t believe one bird could draw that much attention,” Maybin said.
They do when they’re Harry Potter’s charismatic pet in the movies, and when few people have ever laid eyes on one in real life.