Salisbury Hits the Beach

Scott WeidensaulUpdates3 Comments

With some help from his granddaughters, Norman Smith gets ready to release Salisbury, an adult male snowy he'd first banded in 2014. (©Hillary Truslow)

With some help from his appropriately attired granddaughters, Norman Smith gets ready to release Salisbury, an adult male snowy he’d first banded in 2014. (©Hillary Truslow)

Now in his third winter, Salisbury is a very pale, very white adult male. (©Julie Breheny)

Now in his third winter, Salisbury is a very pale, very white adult male. (©Julie Breheny)

Our newest tagged owl is Salisbury, captured at Logan Airport in Boston by the indefatigable Norman Smith from Mass Audubon, tagged and released yesterday at Salisbury Beach State Reservation near Newburyport, Mass. It was the 17th snowy Norman has moved from the airport this winter, with the cooperation of Logan Airport Wildlife Services.

Salisbury is an adult male with a history, which will make him an especially interesting snowy to track. Norman, who has been studying snowies at Logan for 35 years, first banded this bird there on March 2, 2014, when the juvenile owl was on his first migration south — one of many young snowies that made up the vast majority of that winter’s historic irruption.

Now Salisbury’s back in Massachusetts as an adult in his third winter — a beautifully white, crisp and especially gorgeous owl, tipping the scales at more than 1,700 grams (about four pounds), a good weight for a male snowy, which like most owls average smaller than the females.

Last evening Salisbury was sticking close to his release site, which lies at the mouth of the Merrimack River, just north of Plum Island and Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Boston Globe ran a nice story about the release, with another great photo of Norman and his two too-cute-for-words granddaughters letting Salisbury go.

We’ll have a map for Salisbury posted shortly.

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