A Big (Pleasant) Surprise

Scott WeidensaulUpdates9 Comments

We’re usually on tenterhooks in late autumn and early winter — from about mid-November to the end of December — expecting to hear from the first returning tagged snowy owls. As we’ve mentioned before, this was a very slow year on that front — just two returning veterans, Columbia and Otter, compared with a more typical winter like 2021-22 when … Read More

A Last Hurrah on the Prairie

Scott WeidensaulUpdates11 Comments

Working with snowy owls is not for the faint of heart; you’re outside for long hours in weather that sends most people scurrying for the warmth of a wood stove and a mug of hot chocolate. And in a winter like this, when there’s been no appreciable irruption and the owls are thin on the land, those hours and days … Read More

Homebodies and Wanderers (and One Crazy Mink)

Scott WeidensaulUpdates13 Comments

We’re at the point in the winter where we have a sense of the personalities — and I use the word advisedly, because individual birds certainly do have personalities — of the owls we’re tracking. Some of them habitually find a spot and stick like a tick; others, at least as evidenced by their GPS data, have wandering wings. We … Read More

Introducing Salyer

Scott WeidensaulUpdates6 Comments

Our banding teams have been making up for lost time recently, and that includes our longtime colleague Matt Solensky, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Prairie Research Center in North Dakota, who in his spare time traps and bands snowy owls for Project SNOWstorm. As we’d noted in past blogs, Matt’s been out on the prairies a lot … Read More

Next up: Newton

Scott WeidensaulUpdates9 Comments

As we indicated in our last post, our newest banding team up in Ontario has been busy. On Jan. 7 Charlotte England and Malcolm Wilson from the Simcoe Raptor Research Group tagged Huron, an adult female — and a few days later they were out again early, working an area of southern Ontario west of Guelph. On Jan. 11, they … Read More

Howdy, Huron!

Scott WeidensaulUpdates5 Comments

It’s been a slow start to the season, but not for a lack of trying on the part of our cooperating banders — and that’s finally paying off as more snowy owls have moved into their territories. Our newest trapping team are Charlotte England and Malcolm Wilson in the Toronto, ON, area. They’re part of the Simcoe Raptor Research Group, … Read More

How Does This Winter Stack Up?

Scott WeidensaulUpdates9 Comments

Happy 2023, a bit belatedly — I hope the new year is off to a peaceful start for everyone. Columbia certainly seems to have found her spot, and every check-in shows her using a fairly small 11 sq. km (4.25 sq. mile) area of farmland southeast of Carman, MB. That’s where Ken Stewart, an amateur wildlife photographer, encountered Columbia on … Read More

A Year-end Update, and an Out-of-Place Owl

Scott WeidensaulUpdates8 Comments

Here’s hoping everyone is enjoying the final days of 2022. It certainly seems as though Columbia has found her spot for the winter, just southeast of Carman, Manitoba, where she’s been hanging out since the beginning of December. It’s always possible deeper snow cover may eventually force her farther south where hunting may be easier, but for now she seems … Read More

Otter’s Back on the Grid

Scott WeidensaulUpdates3 Comments

Well, just a day after our last update on Dec. 14 lamenting how quietly the season was starting, we got the great news that Otter — our 2019-tagged adult male fitted with a hybrid satellite-GSM transmitter so we can track him in the off-season — was back on the cellular grid in southern Ontario. With his arrival we got an … Read More