Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snowy Invasion

Can You find the Snowy?

Most birders are aware that we are experiencing a massive invasion of Snowy Owls.  Last time we had this, winter of '10-'11.  I seemed to constantly dip out the owls.  I was forced to drive a couple of hours to Rhode Island where I got one at Sachuet Point Nation Wildlife Refuge.  The drive and the anticipation, combined with several hours dipping on other Snowies made the visit to Sachuet Point risky and exciting.  Seeing the bird and enjoying amazing views of it made the trip worthwhile.  These amazing animals are being found throughout North America and even some are being seen in Bermuda!

What's the reason for their exodus and journey?  Well, the food on their normal wintering grounds is suffering.  Snowy owls usually stay in the northern forests and enjoy a selection of rodents and especially lemmings.  When Lemmings suffer, so do the Snowys.  While Snowy Owls are fairly adaptable when it comes to food and hunting, it is important to remember when see them, they are looking for food and their population is being stressed.  Enjoying their presence and beauty is best done while respecting the animal.  But definitely don't miss seeing owl as they are wonderful birds!

While I warn you about respecting the space of the Snowy Owls, you can do no worse than what the Port Authority was ready to do.  Since Snowy Owl enjoy open spaces, airports make natural refuges for them.  However, for a while, the Port Authority of NY and NJ was ready to shoot these birds.  However Logan Airport of Boston captures these birds and releases them elsewhere with great success.  They also use a falconer and their bird to chase the birds away.  While we seem to struggle with our place in the natural world, there are some who actually find ways to protect rather than destroy.  There are many lessons here, but I simply leave you more pictures of birds.  Until next time!

Snowy Owl at AllAboutBirds

Article from Audubon Magazine - Link
CT Post - Link

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