Immature Snowy Owl
Photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
OK, the blog heading today is misleading...sort of. It hasn't snowed here in some time and there's none left around to see because of our unusually warm and dry winter so far. But - the "Snowys" have come!
This has been a banner year for a Snowy Owl invasion from the tundra north land! We've been keeping a watchful eye out and it seems they're every where but in our neighborhood...well that's an exaggeration but it sure seems that way! We did have one south east a few miles of us get picked up with an injury and taken to a wildlife rehab in the area, but haven't seen any in the valley here.
Well today Georgie and I decided we needed a small break from things here and we headed up to where we'd been hearing of sightings about 40 miles north east of us and we found the first one of the season for us near Spirit Lake in Dickinson County!
The bird is an immature Snowy, you can tell by the very heavy banding...the adult males are evidently the whitest and the females have more banding than adult males...but the first year birds are the most heavily banded.
It was a "little" breezy when we found our first Snowy and the only view I could get close with had the poor bird looking into direct sun, so squinting shots are the best I could come up with unfortunately. It seemed to be relishing the warm sun though!
I'll post a video here of some different angles and distances...very short video, but thought you'd like to see!
Keep a watch for Snowys this winter!!!