A rare sight captivated locals as a snowy owl was discovered on the rooftop of an Orange County home on Wednesday.

Excitement was palpable as a crowd of birdwatchers gathered at a home near Orangewood Avenue and Holder Street in Cypress to observe the owl resting on the roof.

The majestic creature drew plenty of spectators who brought professional cameras and binoculars to catch a glimpse of the owl.

“It’s such a rarity to have something like this,” said one birdwatcher. “It’s like a gift from Mother Nature. It’s like a Christmas present from Mother Nature to us in Southern California.”

  • Rare sighting of a snowy owl in Orange County on Dec. 28, 2022. (KTLA)
  • Rare sighting of a snowy owl in Orange County on Dec. 28, 2022. (KTLA)
  • Rare sighting of a snowy owl in Orange County on Dec. 28, 2022. (KTLA)
  • Rare sighting of a snowy owl in Orange County on Dec. 28, 2022. (KTLA)

“I live right down the street, so it’s for me as a birder, it was really fantastic to see yesterday that this bird was within a walking distance of my house,” said another bird enthusiast.

“He’s just comfortable and roosting up there and looking at all of us, looking at him,” said another local.

The snowy owl’s presence in Southern California is quite unusual as its natural habitat is typically much colder, which leaves some wondering how the wintry bird arrived in Orange County.

One expert theorizes the owl may have hitched a ride on a ship.

“Strange as it sounds, I hear stories of especially what we call pelagic birds or seabirds landing on ships and just staying on the ship for hundreds of miles, sometimes until the ship arrives in port,” said Vic Leipzig, from the Sea & Sage Audubon Society. “So could an owl do it? Doesn’t seem quite as likely, but I don’t think we can rule out any of these ideas.”

Although the owl flew away from the rooftop for the evening, it’s been spotted returning to the area over the past two days. Locals are hoping to catch another glimpse of it throughout the week.