Jan 13 2012
Winter’s back! After a week of highs in the 40’s and 50’s, this morning dawned at 18 degrees F with winds gusting to 32mph and a wind chill of 1 degree. Brrrr!
But… with winter’s return there’s a report on PABIRDS of a snowy owl in Somerset County.
This winter “snowies” are coming south in big numbers. From New Jersey to Oregon, from Ohio to Oklahoma more of them are visiting this year than anyone expected. In November Jesse Ellis created this collaborative Google map of snowy owl sightings, showing the beginning of the owl invasion. (It was last updated in December, then moved to eBird where the number of pushpins isn’t as limited.)
Wisconsin has seen a lot of snowy owls. By December 10 birders had already counted 80 in a state that usually sees 10 in an entire winter. This influx did not go unnoticed by other birds of prey. On November 21, Luke Kvapil was about to photograph an owl perched at Milwaukee’s harbor when a peregrine falcon flew in and took a swipe at the bird. Click here and scroll down to see the peregrine harassing the snowy.
As of this writing there’s no information on the location of the Somerset County snowy owl, but several intrepid birders are looking for it.
Intrepid is the word! If it’s winter in Pittsburgh, Somerset County is the arctic.
Perhaps that’s why the snowy owl is there.
(photo by Kim Steininger)