[CT Birds] Snowy Owl behavior and health

julian hough jrhough1 at snet.net
Thu Jan 9 13:28:34 EST 2014

I think there is a lot that we don't know about Snowy Owls and their behavior and I, like many others, often surmise things gleaned from past experiences or interactions with others.
This irruption is likely to throw up some information about these birds during times of southwards incursions, and the current Snowstorm project http://www.projectsnowstorm.org will be a valuable source of information that may dispel some myths perpetuated about why and how these birds cope during these times.

It has been mentioned that these birds are likely coping much better than we think. They are skilled hunters capable of feeding themselves quite well, and many of these are likely to be quite healthy. With so many birds, it is inevitable that some will succumb to starvation, either through competition with other owls and raptors. These well may be inexperienced young birds and I don't think these birds should be the barometer for many other individuals that appear to be doing fine. 

That these birds are capable of taking ducks, gulls and other waterbirds gives them quite an abundant food supply in CT and indeed recent satellite tracking shows these birds are spending nights hunting sleeping waterbirds quite far out off the coast! So, without any hard evidence, it would seem that these birds should be finding enough food. Even in CT, the birds being seen in the Stratford/Milford area are utilizing quite a large area that extends from Seaside Park, to Long Beach to Milford.

Obviously any bird that appears to be in ill-health that can be rehabbed is great but I hope that the information being collated now, especially as it relates to aging and sexing them, will lead to a more enlightened biography of these awesome birds. 
Julian Hough
New Haven, CT 06519

More information about the CTBirds mailing list