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A Rare Visitor

By Kathy Bunse

January 20, 2022

On January 10, 2022, a rare visitor arrived in Cosby. Thanks to my husband, Larry, I got to meet this special guest.

I was on the phone when he burst in the back door and announced “I’ve got something to show you”. Then, he handed me my coat and walked out the door.

“Don’t I need actual shoes?” I asked as we trotted down the back steps. “I’m wearing house slippers.”

“You’re fine,” he called. We’ll stay in the truck. There’s a snowy owl perched on a pole down the road.”

We scanned the utility poles on both sides of the rode as Larry drove along slowly. At last, we spotted the owl, silhouetted against a blue sky. “Wow!” I exclaimed, in awe of this regal bird.

Larry edged the truck off the road to a safe viewing area. He consulted the Audubon app on his phone and identified the snowy as a young male. “Young males have dark markings similar to females,” he explained. “But immature males

have similar markings. They’re usually the ones who travel south in winter.”

This fellow must have had some exciting adventures on his way from the Arctic tundra to Northwest Missouri! Would he stick around or keep moving? We discovered that some brave youngsters had been sighted as far south as Alabama and Florida. Maybe, after catching a hearty lunch of mice and voles in a nearby cornfield, he would travel on.

The future didn’t matter on that sunny winter morning. We embraced the present, connecting with this rare visitor. “Thank you, Larry, for sharing this special sight with me,” I smiled at him.

Back home, I wondered how many people rushed past without noticing this unique bird. Today was the second time Larry had seen a snowy owl. Both instances were chance encounters. Neither would have happened if he hadn’t been observant. Our visitor was the first snowy owl I had ever seen. From now on, I’ll take time to notice nature, no matter how busy I am. Who wants to pass up a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Not me!

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