The Snowy Owl Scoop
Breaking news on the migration of Snowy Owls across North America
Summary Report – Tuesday, December 5, 2019
Snowy Owls have settled in for the winter in a swath of sightings stretching from New Jersey to Manitoba. The timing and distribution of the owl incursion suggests a typical, fairly active winter for Snowys — except for one oddity: few Snowy Owl sightings from inland New England and adjacent states in the Northeast. My home state of Vermont, for example, has no owls persisting at their customary sites in the Champlain Valley. The regional pattern is clearly evident in the eBird sightings map (link below) as of December 5.
To be sure, Snowy Owls like to be near water when they come south in winter, where they sometimes hunt waterfowl. 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. Some of the pattern here in the Northeast reflects birder preference for coastal and shoreline sites in winter. But the absence of owls inland is a bit unusual. (I’ll update this observation accordingly through the winter; I suspect it will change.) The southernmost owl confirmed so far on eBird is from Island Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, New Jersey, (east of Philadelphia) on November 19.
The Map link below includes Snowy Owls reported to eBird since November 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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A live map of Snowy Owl sightings reported to eBird since November 1, 2019. These sightings come from birders and other folks who've found owls.
Sightings reported to eBird in the "lower 48" during the past week. Each sighting on the list includes a map link and the full eBird report.
Owls and Us
Our enjoyment of wildlife calls for responsibility and respect. Here's advice on Snowy Owl etiquette from the good folks at Project SNOWStorm.
The Snow Goose Scoop
A snowstorm of a different kind: up-to-date reports on the migration of Snow Geese through the Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York.