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Bend barred owl sightings draw crowds, cameras

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Jan 30 2013 09:03:56 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with several people in Riverbend park on Wednesday, who were looking for a barred owl that was spotted several times.

BEND, Ore. -

A barred owl hanging around Riverbend park and the Old Mill district has caused quite the commotion, but Wednesday afternoon, it was nowhere to be seen. And still, many people waited, hoping to get catch a glimpse (or another glimpse) of it.

"I've never seen anything like it before," Kelly Burns said. "It was just so amazing."

"I first saw him at the start of the park, by all the homes up there," said one Bend resident riding by on his bicycle.

People came armed with cameras in hand, waiting to for a picture-perfect shot.

"I want see the owl and get some nice pictures of him, so I can show my son," said Leah Wernli. "Owls are his favorite animal."

"I want to see him again," Burns said. "It was just such a true blessing to see him yesterday, to experience that."

But they were left waiting.

"I've heard recently that he hasn't been seen the last couple of days," said one Bend resident running through the area. "It doesn't mean he's gone, but he's probably still in the area, waiting to be seen."

Several NewsChannel 21 viewers have captured amazing pictures and sent them in. The owl even came down from a tree and perched itself on a fence for about 15 minutes the other day.

"Everyone has been here the last few days," Wernli said. "I've been on Facebook and have seen some really nice pictures of him, so I thought I would try today. But I have waited a day too long."

The barred owl is most commonly seen in the northeastern part of the United States, but expanded its territory around the Northwest. That information left many people hopeful that the big guy hasn't left the area.

"Whoever sees one more than a couple times, except at the museum or something like that?" said one Bend resident. "it's really nice that he's not scared or anything.'

"I think he's probably hiding, and I think he'll be back," Burns said.

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