[CT Birds] A Snowy Owl

Kevin Zak kznrrg at sbcglobal.net
Sat Jan 3 08:27:23 EST 2015

Even though I understand I am preaching to the choir this is still great information for Birders and Photographers.

 From the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: This morning we admitted a severely starving snowy owl. Sadly it died within minutes. On the outside it looked like it was healthy, with pristine feathers, but underneath all of those feathers it was a thin skeleton. The condition of these birds cannot be assessed by the average person by just looking at them, even with binoculars. Many we admit appear fine on the surface but are extremely thin once we handle them for initial assessment. These owls travel thousands of kilometres in search of food and some are totally exhausted and severely underweight by the time they reach our part of the country. Please do not bother these owls and remember to give them lots of space. We hope that if you see one it would be viewed from a distance with binoculars to provide them with as much privacy as possible. They are large owls that require a substantial amount of food per day (we feed them 8-10 mice per day in captivity) and to hunt they need privacy and time to rest. Each time they are disturbed (by anything, not just people) it interrupts hunting, their rest time, and makes them use energy to fly away from whatever is disturbing them. If they are on the edge of exhaustion and at an extremely low body weight, making them fly will force them to use energy they can't afford to use. You may also be scaring potential prey away. They are arctic birds and are also hunting in unfamiliar territory when they come here and need time to adjust. We hope that everybody keeps their distance from these beautiful birds and gives them the space they need to hunt, rest and survive. Some are very successful when they migrate here and will do just fine, but some are young inexperienced birds that need undisturbed daylight and nighttime hours to hunt. 

In the spirit of giving this year please consider donating  a little time and/or money to (http://www.aplacecalledhoperaptors.com/index.html) A Place Called Hope. Purchasing their beautiful 2015 calendar with a photo of a Snowy released at Hammo and several of their residents will help feed these creatures you all admire from a distance. They took in a few Snowy's last year, a few survived and were released.

Just passing this along for Birds of Hammonasset/ Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in the hope that one individual will make a difference.

Thanks for listening even though you all know this stuff. 
Kevin Zak
Naugatuck River Revival Group

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