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Are we on the verge of a Snowy Owl irruption?

Drew Weber|

Snowy Owl - juvenile male at Merrill Creek Reservoir (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

It looks like Snowy Owls are on the move this winter. With the widespread adoption of eBird, we now have an easy way to keep track of this phenomenon in a way that was previously difficult to impossible. Below I have posted the maps of the range and locations of sightings in both 2010 and 2011 over the months of Oct-Dec. It definitely looks like a better year than last. Will we see some Snowy Owls showing up over the next couple of weeks during CBC season? What do you think?

Snowy Owl - juvenile male at Merrill Creek Reservoir (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

About the Author

Drew Weber

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Drew is the founder and editor of Nemesis Bird and now works to curate some of the best content the web has to offer on birding and ornithology from an energetic crew of ornithologists, field researchers, tour leaders and photographers. Drew is originally from PA but now lives in central New York where he is enjoying the long and snowy winters. He has done various bird jobs including bird surveys for the 2nd PA Breeding Bird Atlas, tracked saw-whet owls from dusk to dawn with Scott Weidensaul and counted hawks for several years for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. His master's research at Penn State University focused on grassland birds and their relationships with different agricultural practices. Drew is an avid lister, especially on smaller scales, and enjoys adding new birds to county, state and life lists. A sucker for competitions, he has placed 2nd in the World Series of Birding (with Nemesis Birders Andy McGann and Mike Lanzone) and is the part of the winning team for the Onondaga Audubon Bird-a-thon in Central NY and the Shaver's Creek Birding Cup (2 years running with Nemesis Birder Alex Lamoreaux). He also enjoys digiscoping and making apps for birders. He is project manager for the North American Rare Bird Alert and coordinates the development of BirdsEye and BirdsEye Hotspots. Some topics that really interest him are migration, bird distributions and vagrancy.

  • I hope we have an irruptive season.  The snowy at Merrill Creek was amazing!!

  • Hoping to see one in Utah this year, but sad to think its probably there because it was starving up north.

    • Apparently this irruption is not due to a food source crash but rather a boom in Snowy Owl productivity. Hopefully this means we have healthy owls heading south and surviving to return after the winter.

  • Anonymous

    Nice. I didn’t know about eBird. Something new has been learned today. Thanks.
    (I love owls and but I love the Snowy Owl the most. :)) )

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