Meet Ramsey

Scott WeidensaulUpdates5 Comments

David Alexander holds Ramsey, our first tagged owl in Minnesota. (©Andrew Longtin)

David Alexander holds Ramsey, our first tagged owl in Minnesota. (©Andrew Longtin)

We’re continuing to add new tagged owls in new areas, and one of the latest is Ramsey, an immature male banded and tagged last weekend by Frank Nicoletti and David Alexander near the town of the same name, northwest of the Twin Cities.

This is our first tagged snowy in Minnesota, which lies at is the western end of the irruption zone this winter. Ramsey weighed 1,701g, a good weight for a male, and was in great shape overall.

His transmitter checked in last evening for the first time, and we have an interactive map of his movements posted (click on MAPS for the drop-down menu). Although he’s just a short distance from the Mississippi River, he’s spending most of his time in what’s known as the COR — a mix of residential, commercial and park lands that the city of Ramsey has been developing, including the Draw, a park where Ramsey spent the day Jan. 26.

At the moment, much of the COR area is undeveloped, which means it’s great for an open-country bird like a snowy owl. But he’s also hunting near some busy roads, like State Route 10, so we hope he’s careful. He’s been more active in daytime than some of our owls, but so has Freedom over in Wisconsin — that may be a reflection of snowy, cloudy days lately.

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A tough loss
  • A Peterson

    To the couple that fed Ramsey the white rat this afternoon,
    Either you are ignorant to the consequences of wildlife habituation to humans, in which case google it and be enlightened, Or you needed your owl photo and engaged in an action of your own interest instead of the owl’s. It was very disappointing to watch.

    Please do not feed the owls. Thank you.

    • Scott Weidensaul

      Those of us at Project SNOWstorm would like to reinforce that message, in case the couple in question are reading this. In addition to habituating the owl to humans (which is dangerous here, as well as in the Arctic, where snowy owls are hunted by Natives for meat and feathers) it also may interfere with the data we’re collecting. We are investing all this time, effort and resources in tracking the activities of wild owls — not those that are learning to cage handouts from humans.

  • Jeff Wiles

    Affirming the comments of A Peterson and Scott W. Yes, a wake-up call to that interfering couple: DO NOT FEED Ramsey! And, if you are set on imaging this collared owl, do it from some distance with a long telephoto lens; or refrain entirely. Your method was both unethical and potentially compromising to Ramsey’s safety. So next time, if there is one, put the welfare of the owl first and your own considerations a distant second!!!

    • G

      Is Ramsey still near Ramsey, MN?

      • Jeff Wiles

        Yes – He still is in Ramsey to my knowledge. Last saw him near the Ramsey civic center, late afternoon on March 3rd.