Christmas brought a lot more of the Arctic to Colorado than just snow, it brought a Snowy Owl.

Birders and photographers packed the northern side of Standley Lake, trying to snap photos of the rare owl.

"Grizzly bears were cool, the wolves in Yellowstone were very cool. This one's up there," laughed wildlife photographer Rick Nelson.

Nelson says ever since he picked up wildlife photography seven years ago he's always wanted to see a Snowy Owl. It's what drove him to drive to Westminster from his home in Loveland for a few hours to snag some photos.

"She's a gorgeous bird," he said. "And I still have a 12-hour shift after this."

Birders say the Snowy Owl in Westminster was first spotted on December 21st. They say this year is known as an explosion, where owl populations in the Arctic are higher than normal, leading to food competition. They say the older owls take precedence, pushing the younger ones south to find food.

"[I] just try to capture their emotion," Nelson said. "Capture, in a sense, their soul."

Birders say there are currently three Snowy Owls that have been spotted across the state of Colorado.