[CT Birds] Snowy Owls Keith's post (read it!)

Dave Provencher hikerbirder at gmail.com
Thu Dec 5 18:31:13 EST 2013

It's true that irruptions can be the result of multiple causes. But even
so, the Snowys that reach our latitude are going to be some of the youngest
and least experienced birds. They are going to have survival rates on
the statistically bad side of the curve. Any additional stresses will not
improve that. And as far as I know, I and the staff of the ELab at work are
the only ones to have had one of these CT birds in our hands so far this
season. And that bird was skin and bones.

One other point I'd like to make. I've heard/read a few comments that some
of these birds appeared to not be concerned at close approach. I think it
is a mistake to try and interpret an animal's behavior using human logic or
human behavior patterns. Many birds choose not to move at first as a
defensive strategy. Now I'm not saying that's what's going on in any
particular instance, because I would never presume to believe I can read a
bird's thoughts.

Well all love seeing Snowy Owls for obvious reasons. The general public's
interest can also be a good thing for environmental/conservation awareness.
So by all means go and see these gorgeous birds. Just try and resist the
little voice in your head that says "let's get closer!"


On Thursday, December 5, 2013, Greg Hanisek wrote:

> I've been pondering putting in my thoughts on the Snowy Owl event, or more
> specifically birders' response to it, but Keith Mueller covered my feelings
> very closely in a post he entered a few minutes ago. It's long but really
> worth reading. Of special interest is the idea that these irruptions are
> not solely the result of failed food supplies, but also often tied strongly
> to very successful breeding seasons by the species doing the irrupting (in
> this case Snowy Owls).
> Greg Hanisek
> Waterbury
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