Owl Native To Arctic Spotted In Tennesse

Snowy Owl Seen Around Spring Hill In December

By Reported by Alan Frio
updated 10:17 a.m. HT, Wed., Jan. 21, 2009

SPRING HILL, Tenn. - The thousands of acres that surround the General Motors plant in Spring Hill have become home to a bird not native to Tennessee.

A snowy owl, which is more commonly found in Canada and polar regions, was first spotted in the area in December.

Bird lovers from other states have flocked to the area with their telephoto lenses in hopes of capturing a peek at the rare site.

Local wildlife experts said the last citing of a snowy owl in Tennessee was about 22 years ago.

"The last one that I know about was seen in Dover, Tenn., (around) 1987, so its super rare," said Shari Meghreblian, the on-site environmentalist for the 2,400 acres surrounding the GM plant.

"These are arctic birds, and they do fly south to find food, and, you know, we're not really sure why he came this far south," said Meghreblian. "It's quite a lifetime find really, so we've had folks from the middle Tennessee area, and even so far away as Georgia and Alabama."

As word spreads of the bird's presence in middle Tennesee, people are scrambling for one fleeting look at something they may never see again in their lifetime.

"Probably when it starts to turn warm, he'll fly north again. So we don't know that we'll see him again," said Meghreblian.

GM officials said the owl's prescence has spread fast, causing a back-up Tuesday on Highway 31.