PICS: Bird Watchers See Rare Snowy Owl In Transylvania Co. -

PICS: Bird Watchers See Rare Snowy Owl In Transylvania Co.

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Courtesy: Steve Atkins, Fox Cove Photography Courtesy: Steve Atkins, Fox Cove Photography

At least 300 bird watchers have descended on a western North Carolina farm to get a rare glimpse of a snowy owl.

“The way she hobbled, I knew there was something wrong,” said Will Kilpatrick, who spotted the bird around his house this week.

According to our coverage partners, the Times-News of Hendersonville reports birders from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee traveled to the upper French Broad River valley to get what's described as the first known sighting of a snowy owl in WNC in modern history.

The owl, nicknamed Tundra, was found to have an elevated white blood cell count, and has been placed on antibiotics and is being hand-fed to increase her weight.

Carlton Burke of the Carolina Mountain Naturalists is caring for the bird in Mills River.

“She might not have survived in the wild,” Burke said.

He believes the bird came west in search of food.

Typically, snowy owls breed in the open tundra of Alaska and Canada.

According to officials with the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, different types and sometimes rare birds travel over the state due to lack of food sources in their native territory and changes in the weather.

"For Tundra to show up at my backdoor, I am very honored," says Kilpatrick.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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