A Close Call, and a Tourist Owl

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A few days after the new year had started, birders found a snowy owl in the rolling farmlands and woodlots of Bradford County in northeastern Pennsylvania, not far below the New York line. Because relatively few snowies show up in this area, the bird became a minor local celebrity, with half a dozen or more birders and photographers lined up … Read More

Oswego Joins the Crew

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Sorry for the silence — I’ve been leading a birding tour out of the country the past week and a half, but things were hopping at Project SNOWstorm while I was off the grid. The big news is that we have our first newly tagged owl of 2017, caught by Tom McDonald on Jan. 19 at Oswego Harbor in upstate New … Read More

All Over the Map

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There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes at Project SNOWstorm since the beginning of the year — though not always the working out the way we hoped or expected, which is often the way things go with wildlife. Here’s an update on what we’ve been up to. * * * * * We continue to track the movements of … Read More

A Baltimore Four-peat

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We’ve tagged more than 40 snowy owls in the past three years, and every one of them has given us insights and surprises. Like parents with a large family, we try not to have favorites. But it’s fair to say that in our eyes, Baltimore is first among equals. We initially banded him as a juvenile in his first winter … Read More

Casco’s Grand Tour

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Casco — our second Maine owl, tagged in late February — pulled a bit of a disappearing act earlier this month. After being captured at the Portland, Maine, airport, she was released Down East, in a complex of immense blueberry barrens in Washington County, ME, close to the Canadian border. Casco quickly moved a couple hundred miles north, crossing into … Read More

The Pull of the Pole

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There’s no longer any doubt that spring is pulling many of our tagged snowy owls back home toward the Arctic. In the past week we’ve seen several birds make flights north, while others have dropped off the grid, apparently having moved beyond cell range. For example, Hardscrabble and Tibbetts both left their wintering grounds on the northeast shore of Lake … Read More

Buckeye’s Bonanza

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One of the most exciting developments this winter was the unexpected reappearance on Feb. 22 of Buckeye, our first Ohio snowy owl, tagged last winter after being relocated from the Detroit airport. Her transmitter quickly uploaded a new configuration designed to maximize battery power and speed the download of her stored data — and that has worked spectacularly well. In … Read More

Spring is in the Air

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If you live in the Northeast, you didn’t need much of a hint that spring is coming early this year — it was T-shirt weather across much of the region this week. Here in Pennsylvania, where I live, sheets of migrant tundra swans, Canada and snow geese were papering the skies the past few mornings, and spring peepers and wood … Read More

Buckeye’s Back!

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Here in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting noticeably longer — and that’s having an effect on birds of all sorts, including snowy owls. The past week or two we’ve started seeing some significant movement — not migration, and not necessarily northbound, but a sign of seasonal restlessness setting in. And with predictions for dramatically warmer weather across much … Read More

Baltimore: The Rest of the Story

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Of all the owls we’ve tagged since Project SNOWstorm started, perhaps the most exciting has been Baltimore. He’s now wrapping up his third winter on our radar, and his second with a transmitter — and he’s produced what is arguably the most detailed record ever of the movements of an individual snowy owl. As a juvenile on his first migration, … Read More