"Philly the Snowy Owl" Dies, As a Snowy Owl Invasion Is ReconsideredS

When the huge invasion of snowy owls began this winter, was it wrong for us to feel delight? These beautiful raptors from the arctic tundra do not often show up on the American East Coast, after all. But the sheer number of snowy owls should have been a warning, both to the owls themselves and to our sense of wonder.

And now, the beloved snowy owl of Philadelphia has died doing the thing it enjoyed most: Hanging around dangerous jet airplanes. "Philly the Snowy Owl"—not its real name, but a nickname bestowed upon the bird by the eternal boosters of Philadelphia—was killed by a UPS cargo plane.

That Amazon Prime box on your doorstep today may well have been the cause of Philly's death.

[Photo of a completely different snowy owl, in Germany, via Associated Press.]