Steve Huy

Baltimore Returns 4

It’s hard to imagine that by this date two years ago I had just banded my first two snowy owls. Little did I realize I would have the opportunity to band several more, some of which were released with transmitters to allow us some insight into their activities. It was really exciting when several of the owls I tagged in the first season returned last year. One of those, Baltimore, had only been banded the first season. We don’t know where he went that first summer, but when he was caught last year, he finally got his transmitter. And now Baltimore has returned, the first of the Project SNOWstorm owls to appear in all three seasons. We first heard from […]

Baltimore 3

We’ve had the return of Monocacy which was quite a pleasant surprise. I had really been hoping one of our Maryland owls would return and she did. Monocacy had originally been trapped at Martin State Airport and relocated to Western Maryland for her safety. But she was only half of the story. The day after Monocacy was trapped, last March, we received a call from the APHIS Wildlife Services staff at the airport that they had trapped a second owl overnight. This owl, a male, was also relocated in western Maryland near Middletown in Frederick County. The release site was in a park surrounded by open farm land where we hoped he would spend the winter. It was wide open habitat with […]

A New Chapter for Delaware 20

The owl we call Delaware has an interesting history and is unique in a couple of ways. I first trapped her in December 2013 on the Delaware coast, she was the first snowy owl ever banded in “the First State,” as Delaware proudly calls itself. A few days earlier, she apparently was feeding on the carcasses of a dead dolphin. Her facial feathers were stained by the fats from dolphin blubber and her perfume was far from pleasant. That was unusual enough — but later in the winter she moved across the Delmarva Peninsula onto the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and eventually suffered a wing injury at an airport. That landed her in rehabilitation, first at […]

SNOW day 12

I can’t believe we haven’t yet used this title! Tuesday was a snow day here at my Maryland home. We had only a few inches of snow, but it was enough to close schools and snarl commuter traffic into the DC area. I worked from home which spared me from several hours worth of driving to and from work and gave me some extra time in the evening to catch up on this other SNOWstorm. Dave, Scott and I were all away for the holidays so it’s been a while since our last update. I took my week vacation on the Maryland coast with hopes of banding a few snowy owls as I did last year. We have only had a few owls in […]

Keep warm with a really cool SNOW hat

I’m bald, and I love cold weather, so I am keenly aware of how important a hat is in preventing heat loss through the head. I was really excited when PRBY Apparel, the creator of the “SNOW” part of our logo, decided to make a hat with that same image. I could now look really cool, while staying warm, and bringing awareness to Project SNOWstorm. This hat draws attention with its bold colors and the eye-catching SNOW logo. Here in Maryland it draws two responses; “Cool!, is that an official Project SNOWstorm hat? Where can I get one?”, or “do you know ‘Steelers’ is spelled wrong on your hat?” For the latter group I explain what it is and then […]

A Biologist’s Eye View 6

Delaware received the best medical care from The Maryland Zoo and expert evaluation from wildlife rehabilitators at Owl Moon Raptor Center and Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research during her nine months in captivity. However, her wing injury had been corrected with a new technique and we had yet to see how she would manage when returned to the wild. Her release site, Assateague Island, was chosen for its natural setting and plentiful prey. It is home to wintering waterfowl and many small mammals, a larder for a hungry owl. That selection was the first step in making her transition as easy as possible. We also kept a close eye on her, using reports from boots on the ground and through thorough […]

Delaware 10

Monday morning found me peering intently at a photograph of ‘Delaware’, our latest owl to receive a transmitter. However, I wasn’t as interested in the owl as much as what was below her perch. A blob of white with some dark matter. It looked fresh and healthy, a dropping from a bird that has eaten. But was it hers? A quick email to the photographer let me know it may have been, but the deposit was not witnessed, so we won’t ever know. What would bring about an interest in owl poop so early in the week? This owl is special, and not just because she has a transmitter through Project SNOWstorm. Delaware has spent most of the last nine months in captivity and has […]

Busy week! 2

Seems the Project SNOWstorm team has hit the perfect storm of busy. All of us have been occupied due to prior obligations and haven’t been able to send any updates lately. We have managed to keep to the schedule on updating our maps. There has been some significant and interesting movement from some of the owls. Others haven’t really moved. And we’re still waiting to hear from some who have been on the ice of the Great Lakes. Assateague, Hungerford and Henlopen who were all on the New Jersey coast are still silent. We’re beginning to wonder if salt spray is clouding the solar panels, contributing to other issues affecting the power of their units. Our latest owl, Monocacy, has […]

Lucky #13 4

I was really excited to be in charge of trapping snowy owls in Delaware. I needed to place two transmitters sponsored by the Delmarva Ornithological Society, but I just wasn’t having any luck. Several trips, zillions of miles on the car, hundreds of dollars in gas. I visited many places where owls were reliably spotted for days on end to find they just weren’t there that day. Or the weather didn’t cooperate. Attempts to trap and relocate owls at Dover Air Force Base were unsuccessful because the owls were not interested in the traps. Scott came out once with David Alexander, an experienced trapper from Minnesota, only to be ignored as well by the owls in Dover. It seemed as […]