SNOWstorm Owls (Winter 2015-16)

Red pins are femalesblue pins are males.


New SNOWstorm owls

Flanders – 2015

Updated 03/04/16 – On Dec. 8, SNOWstorm collaborator (and longtime snowy owl researcher) Tom McDonald of Rochester, NY, caught this adult female on Point Peninsula at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, just a few miles from the New York-Canadian border. Flanders is the first owl of the season and also the first to carry one of Cellular Tracking Technologies’ new 3G transmitters, which (along with a number of other improvements) will be significantly more energy efficient than the older models. (Photo ©Rachael Slate)

Wampum – 2015

Updated 04/04/16 – This adult female was captured at Logan Airport in Boston by Norman Smith and relocated to a safer spot on Cape Cod on December 30, 2015. Originally banded by Norman at the airport the prior winter she returned and has been released with a transmitter. She’s the 36th Snowy Owl we’ve tagged since Project SNOWstorm started in December 2013. (Photo ©Raymond MacDonald)

Brunswick – 2016

Updated 05/02/16 – This adult female was caught at Brunswick Executive Airport in Brunswick, Maine by a crew consisting of Scott Weidensaul of Project SNOWstorm and staff from the Biodiversity Research Institute and APHIS Wildlife Services. She was relocated to the Rachel Carson NWR on January 13. (Photo ©Rick Gray)

Salisbury – 2016

Updated 05/03/16 – This adult male was relocated from Logan Airport in Boston, MA by Norman Smith. Salisbury had originally been banded by Norman on March 2, 2014. He was released at Salisbury Beach State Reservation in Salisbury, MA on January 17, 2016. (Photo ©Julie Breheny)

Tibbetts – 2016

Updated 03/25/16 – Tibbetts, an adult male was caught by Tom McDonald near Cape Vincent, New York, where the St. Lawrence River leaves Lake Ontario — the same area where Tom tagged Chaumont last winter, and very close to where he tagged Flanders this season. (Photo ©Tom McDonald)

Dakota – 2016

Updated 04/25/16 – Dakota, an adult female was trapped on January 31, 2016 by Matt Solensky and Dave Brinker near Jamestown, North Dakota. She is Project SNOWstorm’s first North Dakota owl. While fitted with a transmitter this year, she was originally banded in Michigan on January 16, 2014. (Photo ©Dave Brinker)

Hardscrabble – 2016

Updated 05/02/16 – Hardscrabble is an after-third-year male (meaning he’s at least four years old) who was tagged Feb. 22, 2016, by Tom McDonald near Hardscrabble Road in Cape Vincent, New York. This almost completely unmarked male weighed a robust 1,731 grams and had significant body fat. (Photo ©Tom MacDonald)

Casco – 2016 – 

Updated 04/25/16 – Casco, our second Pine Tree State snowy, was trapped at Portland Jetport by Project SNOWstorm partners at the Biodiversity Research Institute and USDA’s Maine Wildlife Services. Casco was released in a huge complex of blueberry barrens in Washington County, about 150 miles (242 km) northeast of the airport. (Photo ©BRI)

Merrimack – 2016 – 

Updated 04/09/16 – Merrimack was trapped at Logan Airport on March 8, 2016 and released the following day at Salisbury State Reservation (Photo ©Raymond MacDonald)


Returning Owls

Buena Vista – 2013

Updated 12/16/2015 – This young male was banded Dec. 23, 2013, on the Buena Vista grasslands in central Wisconsin. He was the second owl to be tagged with a GPS/GSM transmitter by Project SNOWstorm. Buena Vista, last detected March 31, 2014 while still on his winter territory, checked in again on November 1, 2015. Due to poor cellular coverage only a small sample of points from his transmitter were received giving a look at his first summer, but we’re delighted to see that he spent at least part of it in Nunavut. (©Gene Jacobs)

Baltimore – 2015

Updated 04/02/2016 – This third year male was banded as an immature by Steve Huy after being trapped by Aphis Wildlife Services at Martin State Airport in Baltimore, Maryland on March 14, 2014. He was relocated to Middletown in Western Maryland.

Baltimore was recaptured at Martin State Airport on February 13, 2015. He was fitted with a transmitter and relocated to Assateague Island National Seashore on February 14, 2015.

Baltimore checked in on December 19, 2015 making him the first of Project SNOWstorm’s owls to appear in our first three seasons. Currently on Amherst Island in Lake Ontario we are waiting to see if he’ll return to the same Baltimore airport he visited the prior two winters.

Baltimore’s transmitter was sponsored by the Baltimore Bird Club. (Photo ©Chris Hudson)

Chaumont – 2015

Updated 04/02/16 – This adult male Snowy Owl is nicknamed Chaumont (pronounced “Shaa-moe”), for the small town at the extreme eastern end of Lake Ontario, just a few miles from the Canadian border, where he was captured, and where he has spent most of the winter.

(Photo ©Tom McDonald)



Erie – 2014

Updated 03/10/16 – Erie, an immature male, was tagged in near the Erie, PA, International Airport on Jan. 19, 2014, along with Millcreek. He was one of several snowy owls in the winter of 2013-14 that spent the majority of their time well offshore, on the frozen surface of the Great Lakes — in his case, Lake Erie — making only occasional visits to land. We assume these owls were hunting waterbirds in the ever-changing network of open-water cracks between the massive plates of wind-shifted ice covering the lakes. In spring he began moving north, first to Lake St. Clair, then up the eastern side of Lake Huron, remaining on offshore ice. He was the third owl to return from our first season, reporting in from the Bruce Peninsula on January 6, 2015.

BuckeyeBuckeye – 2015

Updated 04/18/15 – This third-year female was captured at Detroit Metropolitan Airport by USDA WIldlife Services and relocated to northwestern Ohio. She was tagged by Mark Shieldcastle from Black Swamp Bird Observatory, and released Feb. 15, 2015, in farmland north of Oak Harbor, OH. Buckeye is part of Project SNOWstorm’s and Wildlife Services’s efforts to learn more about the most effective methods and distances to safely relocate owls from airports. Her transmitter was generously sponsored by Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the Kirtland Bird Club. (Photo ©BSBO)