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— Bryan

Snowy Owl in Randolph Center, Vermont

The Snowy Owl Scoop

Breaking news on the migration of Snowy Owls across North America

Summary Report – Friday, January 24, 2020

Snowy Owls continue to occupy a swath of winter territory stretching from New Jersey to Alberta — in a pattern that hasn’t changed much since early December. The distribution is fairly typical, except for one ongoing oddity: very few Snowy Owl sightings from inland New England and adjacent states. Notable exceptions include owls in downtown Burlington, Vermont, and Albany, New York, each on January 5.

To be sure, Snowy Owls like to be near water when they come south in winter, where they sometimes hunt wintering sea ducks and alcids (even fish on occasion). The Northeastern U.S. coastline and the St. Lawrence River Valley, as usual, are attracting the most owl sightings. The distribution is more scattered from Ontario northwestward into Alberta. The overall pattern reflects birder preference for coastal and shoreline sites in winter. But the near absence of owl sightings inland is a bit unusual, and I don’t expect it to change much through the winter.

The Map link below includes Snowy Owls reported to eBird since January 1. The Sightings link features a list of Snowy Owl reports during the past seven days only in the lower 48 states, including “unconfirmed” records not yet on the eBird map.

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The Snowy Gallery

Click the grid below for a gallery of recent sightings (there are indeed a few) from eBird and the Macaulay Library from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.