A Shout-out from James Bay

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Here at Project SNOWstorm, we usually expect to start hearing from tagged owls around the middle of November, when the first snowies reach the northern edge of the Canadian cell phone network. But that edge keeps moving north, as more and more bush communities get cell service. That’s why we heard from Bancroft in late June near Churchill, Manitoba. So … Read More

Tracking Young Snowies in the Arctic

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In this blog post Jean-François Therrien at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, who has been part of Project SNOWstorm’s leadership team since our beginning, shares some exciting news about a new venture for SNOWstorm. —————– Snowy owl enthusiasts ask the same question every summer: Where will snowy owls be breeding this year, and how good a reproductive season will it … Read More

A Postcard from Churchill, and an Old Friend Gone

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The growing number of cell towers in the subarctic and Arctic means that summer is no longer a time of complete radio blackout for our GSM-tagged owls — though it’s still a pretty rare (and therefore exciting) occasion when we hear from one on the breeding grounds. On June 27 Bancroft — a young male tagged near Coddington, Wisconsin, in … Read More

On the Shores of Great Slave

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Chances are that wherever you’re reading this it feels like summer, but we’re still tracking the last of this past winter’s owls — Austin, who was moved in January from the Green Bay, WI, airport for his safety and spent the rest of the winter on the Buena Vista grasslands in central Wisconsin. He’s now 2,500 km (1,500 miles) northwest … Read More

Austin, Flin Flon and Uranium

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Although we suspected the season was over, last night (May 28) we got a great surprise when Austin checked in for the first time in almost three weeks — with almost 900 backlogged data points, a real treasure-trove. The last time we heard from this juvenile male, who wintered in central Wisconsin, he was just over the Canadian border in … Read More

The End?

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All good things must come to an end, and we may be at the finale of the 2017-18 winter season. This past week only a single snowy owl checked in, and it’s been anywhere from eight to 10 days since we’ve heard from any of the others of this winter’s crew. The one communicative bird was Island Beach, one of … Read More

Catching Up

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Sorry for the silence the past two weeks — as we’ve said before, all of us at Project SNOWstorm do this in our spare time, and this is a busy season for wildlife folks. I just got back from a 10-day writing and research trip to China focusing on shorebirds, while webmaster Drew Weber was with the Cornell Lab’s Sapsuckers … Read More


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The movement north is in full swing, and by last week we only had a handful of owls still on their winter territories. Everyone else was on the move, or (maybe) already out of cell range. The movements have been especially strong in the East, where spring has finally started to make itself felt — but migration timing is only … Read More

Stops and Starts

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The past week was a wild one for weather across much of the terrain our tagged owls are inhabiting. Some places went from summerlike tee-shirt weather one day to whiteout snow squalls the next, while blizzards and ice storms raked still other regions. So it’s not surprising that some owls that had been moving north hung back –but others pushed … Read More

North (and South) – but Mostly North

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Spring is supposed to be when snowy owls head north. Tell that to Hardscrabble. This veteran owl, now wrapping up his third year of being tracked, took off last week as he’s done in previous winters, heading up through southwestern Quebec…until he reversed course. April 2 he was northwest of Val-d’Or, but two evenings later he’d flown 326 km (202 … Read More