Beloved snowy owl struck by cargo jet at PHL airport

snowy owl
A snowy owl. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A snowy owl named Philly, which was rescued from the Philadelphia International Airport but chose to return there, reportedly died today after an encounter with a massive jet.

Bird-lovers who previously trapped Philly and brought him out of harm’s way before tagging him with a GPS bracelet announced that Philly had died, Lancaster Online reported.

Philly reportedly was struck by a UPS cargo jet early Wednesday morning. The plane was undamaged.

A licensed bird bander and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services technician captured Philly on Jan. 9 at the airport and brought him to Lancaster. However, two days later he flew back to the airport.

Several attempts to capture him again were unsuccessful.

Philly was reportedly hunting rodents while living at the airport.

His continued survival at the airport was due to Philadelphia International Airport’s policy to not kill snowy owls at the airport but instead trap and relocate them.

At New York’s JFK airport, three snowy owls were killed in December by wildlife airports.

However, an airport is still a very dangerous place for an owl to live.

Ornithologists say snowy owls, which are an unusual new addition to the region this winter after what scientists believe was an unusually active breeding season in the Arctic, enjoy airports due to their resemblance to the snowy tundra that the owl usually inhabits.

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