Feb. 23 update

Scott WeidensaulUpdates16 Comments

The past week was a busy one for us. Among other things, Dave Brinker and I spent a couple of days on Assateague Island in Maryland, hoping to catch a new female snowy for a transmitter. But while the bird we were targeting gave us a good run, the owl we ended up catching was a diminutive male, by far … Read More

Shuffling off to…

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If you haven’t checked out Erie’s latest tracks, go straight to the maps page. This owl (whose transmitter is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology) continues to make some incredible movements over the frozen surface of Lake Erie, coming within 10 miles of Buffalo before turning back.

Amishtown is ready for his closeups

Scott WeidensaulUpdates1 Comment

When we released Amishtown near New Holland, Pennsylvania, we knew he’d attract a lot of attention, since the area was already hosting three or more other snowy owls — perhaps the most reliable (and most viewed) snowies in the state. Here are a few photos that folks have taken of him in the past few days. Laura Wagner is the … Read More

Prodigal owls

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Our first two tagged owls, Assateague and Buena Vista, have also been the most problematic. Back in December when we tagged them we were still feeling our way, applying a transmitter technology designed for use on diurnal raptors to a nocturnal owl for the first time. We learned some hard lessons about how to balance data collection, cellular transmission, battery … Read More

Henlopen and Hungerford

Scott WeidensaulUpdates5 Comments

The only reason we’ve been able to mount such a full court press of research this winter, taking advantage of the historic snowy owl irruption in the East and Midwest, is public support. Hundreds of individuals have given more than $31,000 through our Indiegogo campaign, and a number of state and regional ornithological organizations have made significant contributions to sponsor … Read More

Duxbury relaxing

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Photographer Rick Bowes dropped us a line yesterday with a couple photos of Duxbury, the immature female that Norman Smith relocated Jan. 29 from Logan Airport in Boston to Duxbury Beach, about 30 miles to the south. “After seeing from your data that she was briefly on Duxbury Beach between the bridge and the pavilion building at the same time … Read More

Oh, Canada!

Scott WeidensaulUpdates8 Comments

I was going to draw some sappy Valentine metaphor tonight, but the fact is, we feel like kids at Christmas every time the transmitters check in — and tonight in particular. I was relieved to see that Amishtown is staying put in Lancaster County, at least for the moment. He’s wandered around a three-mile-by-three-mile area, but this evening was back … Read More

Amishtown joins the crew

Scott WeidensaulUpdates12 Comments

One of the best — and worst — places for snowy owls this winter has been airports. The owls love them probably because they so closely resemble the flat, treeless terrain of the Arctic, but they’re obviously dangerous places, both for the owls and for the planes (and their passengers) that might hit them. We found that out last month, … Read More

The latest updates

Scott WeidensaulUpdates5 Comments

Last night eight of our tagged owls checked in. Despite being tired from five fruitless hours trying to catch a snowy owl here in Pennsylvania that we want to tag, I sat up for many hours more going through the latest movement data from our growing cohort of transmittered snowies. The big news is that we added two more owls … Read More

Snowies on Ice

Scott WeidensaulUpdates8 Comments

We’ve been waiting to hear from Erie, one of our tagged birds in northwestern Pennsylvania, but I suspect he’s in a place with poor cell reception — the middle of Lake Erie somewhere. Erie’s been especially fun to follow because he’s already made several long voyages, so to speak, on wind-drifted ice sheets on the lake. Last month he spent … Read More