Pardon the Irruption: Snowy Owls Are Here!
by Mary Thill
Twitter is aflutter with snowy owl sightings as far south as North Carolina’s Outer Banks. As of yesterday this ebird map didn’t show any snowys in New York’s North Country, but Rulf’s Orchard (in Peru, south of Plattsburgh) tweeted a photo of an owl in its strawberry field. And Yahoo’s Northern New York bird group reported one among corn stubble in Chazy a week ago.
So keep your eyes open for solitary large white birds in farm fields, air strips and other tundralike treeless spaces, where they hunt mice and voles by day. Why snowy owls occasionally wander from the Arctic in great numbers isn’t clear but is likely food-driven, so observe birding ethics and don’t tax their energy by getting too close.
Also exciting to Adirondack birders are a handful of short-eared owls sighted in fields around Clark Road in Whallonsburg before sunset Sunday, according to the Yahoo northern New York birds group. Short-ears also hunt fields and are more often seen in St. Lawrence and Washington Counties.