Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Harry Potter's Owl

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!

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