[CT Birds] Snowy Owl "echo flight"?

Don Crockett doncrockett63 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 31 12:19:07 EDT 2014

There were some Snowy Owls that never left the northern northeast this
year. Most usually return to the Arctic but not all this year. The birds
showing up recently may be some of these birds? Not sure.

This winter would be the when you would expect to see an "echo year" for
Snowies. "Echo years" being the year after a peak irruptive year of Snowies
where the numbers of owls is above average but below the peak numbers of
the previous year.

My theory on this is that since most Snowies in a peak year are hatch-year
birds that some of these owls that survive come back to where they were
successful their 1st winter. If you find something that works, keep doing
it! Young birds still benefit from the easier conditions "down south" in
our neck of the northern hemisphere where the winters aren't as severe, the
food is more plentiful/available, and the competition isn't as experienced.

To see an instance of a satellite tracked "echo year" bird check out my
blog post on one of Norm Smith's MassAudubon satellite-tracked snowies from
a few years back:

Where Did the Snowy Owl Released on the Today Show Go?

That bird, trapped at Logan Airport, was fitted with a satellite
transmitter during its hatch year, flew back to the Arctic in Nunavut, and
returned straight back to Logan the following fall. That bird "knew"
exactly where it wanted to spend its 2nd winter if you consider its
tracking data.

We're hoping one or more Project SNOWstorm
(http://projectsnowstorm.org) Snowies
return this year and "Call Home" with all their tracking data since
April/May. Fingers crossed that some of the SNOWstorm snowies end up being


 P.S. I'll be giving a talk about Project SNOWstorm at the Hartford Audubon
meeting on January 13, 2015. http://hartfordaudubon.org/fpw.htm

Don Crockett
Great Blue Media Works, Owner - http://greatblue.com
Project SNOWstorm, Google Maps Wrangler - http://projectsnowstorm.org
New Britain, CT
doncrockett63 (at) gmail.com

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