Snowy owl living at Philadelphia airport killed by cargo plane

Jan. 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A snowy owl that had been living at the Philadelphia International Airport was struck by a cargo plane and killed, officials said.

The rare owl, nicknamed Philly, was first seen at the airport on Jan. 9, at which point he was captured and relocated to Lancaster County, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

However, he returned to the airport shortly thereafter and stayed until he was killed by the plane Wednesday, said Scott Weidensaul, an author and naturalist who was tracking the bird.

Weidensaul said it was not unusual for owls to make their homes at Pennsylvania airports.

"Where they come from, there are no trees. It's flat and treeless," Weidensaul said. "They're looking for places that look like home."

Since November, a large number of snowy owls have been migrating from their native northern Quebec and have been seen as far south as Florida and Bermuda, Weidensaul said.

Weidensaul and researchers started Project SNOWstorm to track the birds, raising more than $27,000 on the crowdfunding site

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