Happy Birthday to Us

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On this day five years ago, my phone rang not long after breakfast. It was my friend and colleague Dave Brinker, a biologist with Maryland’s Natural Heritage program. He was calling because of something we’d both been watching with growing interest and amazement — the almost unprecedented invasion of snowy owls coming south into eastern North America, which was playing … Read More

Remember Snowy Owls on Giving Tuesday

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It’s here — Giving Tuesday, your chance to help us better understand and conserve snowy owls. If you’ve already made a contribution to our 2018-19 winter campaign, thank you. If not, today’s the perfect time to do so. Your tax-deductible donation (though Project SNOWstorm’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit home, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art) will allow us to continue … Read More

Two More Back South

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Two more previously tagged owls are back south, having uploaded more than 12,000 GPS points showing where they’ve been over the past eight months — Wells and Island Beach, who went in dramatically different directions over the summer. Wells is an adult female, originally trapped in 2017 by USDA Wildlife Services at the Portland (Maine) Jetport, tagged by SNOWstorm collaborators … Read More

Another Season Takes Flight – With Your Help

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Here in the U.S., today is Thanksgiving — and everyone involved with Project SNOWstorm is especially grateful for the extraordinary generosity of our supporters, who have made this experiment in highly collaborative, crowd-funded science such an incredible success over the past five years. With your help, we’ve done amazing things. Project SNOWstorm has assembled a superb team of more than … Read More

First Across the Finish Line

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This is the time of the year when we’re on heightened alert for the first signs of snowy owls, both new birds coming south from the Arctic, and the first returning tagged owls from previous winters. As we noted a week or two ago, this year there has been an unusually early surge of snowies, and we’d gotten a brief … Read More

Snowies on the Move

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It’s very early in the season, but there is a lot happening on the snowy owl front already. Significant numbers of snowies have been showing up as far south as Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the East, and southern Michigan and Wisconsin in the Midwest. Amherst Island in Lake Ontario had as many as 10 in recent days, and there … Read More

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-Fran├žois 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