As more and more birders in the Northeast report Snowy Owls in unlikely places and public outcry forced a change in policy for New York airports who were previously killing owls who jeopardized air travel, the owl of Harry Potter is becoming a common conversation starter for anyone who knows Warren and I and knows we love birds.
So, thankfully, the lovely Leslie Starr found some information about Snowys and posted it on the MDBirding listserv, so I can answer some of the questions I get on a nearly daily basis.
Jean-Francois Therrien, conducted his Ph.D. research on Snowy Owls in NE Canada and according to his research:
- Males tend to be whiter than females
- Adults are whiter than juveniles
- It is next to impossible to tell mature males and females apart
- We are graced with Snowys this far South this year... probably because they had a very successful breeding year in the Arctic.
I have no doubt that this Snowy Owl invasion is going to put some people over-the-edge from general interest in birds to all out birder mania!