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Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington
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Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington on 11/15/2012 20:49:14 MST Print View

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington on 11/16/2012 08:32:11 MST Print View

I live in Seattle. A couple of weeks ago I heard an owl after dark but could not spot it. Maybe it was a snowy owl?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Snowy Owls in Washington on 11/16/2012 11:11:39 MST Print View

Lots of other owls around, some of which live in cities. Snowy owls show up in WA most winters and are generally spotted at wildlife refuges. I'd be surprised to see one in an urban area, but it does look as though at least one decided to go back to school!

Edited by hikinggranny on 11/16/2012 11:14:52 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington on 11/16/2012 12:47:23 MST Print View

We went to Boundary Bay in Canada last Winter to see the snowy owls on the beach there. This is a little south of Vancouver BC. You can stand on the dike and watch them just a few yards (okay, meters) away. Fantastic birds.

The theory is that global warming has created a population increase and the birds are moving farther south for wintering.

Edited by dwambaugh on 11/16/2012 12:49:43 MST.

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
PBS special on 11/16/2012 13:36:56 MST Print View

PBS Nature recently aired "Magic of the Snowy Owl". You can watch it in full on their website:

One theory seems to be that the younger ones can't survive a tundra winter, so they do a training run down South. Which begs the question, why go back North at all?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington on 11/16/2012 16:59:33 MST Print View

I am privileged to have a weekly gig at a raptor rehab facility so I was told a bit about Snowy irruptions last winter. The info in the article Dale linked matches what we were given to tell folks.

The key to the episodic nature of irruptions is cyclical changes in lemming populations ... their numbers grow steadily and then suddenly crash. The good years support a growing Snowy population and the crash years leave them very short of food. Many (most??) inexperienced juveniles are unable to compete and they travel in search of food. Apparently those in coastal PNW find a substitute (voles) in good supply. Those that come to MN don't find much prey that resembles lemmings and those found and brought in for rehab tend to be emaciated.

D*MN fun to watch one being released!

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington on 12/07/2012 09:51:19 MST Print View

my neighborhood in Seattle

and again

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Just interesting: Snowy Owls in Washington on 12/07/2012 10:36:22 MST Print View

That should make being a Ballard gray squirrel interesting. Keep your Yorkies close :)

I'll bet there are some in Discovery Park too.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Pah! on 12/07/2012 10:45:26 MST Print View

Like I needed another nature documentary to watch!

Thanks, Sharon. Owls are awesome. :)

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Keep your Yorkies close :) on 12/07/2012 11:16:12 MST Print View

No kidding, Dale. A few years ago, I watched an 18" tall gray horned owl almost snag my cat on the patio. The cat saw it in time to dive 180 degrees back into the house (as only a cat can do), and the owl slammed into my screen sliding door. Pilot error, I'm thinking. Being a sort of Buddhist love junky, the cat came back out to make friends with the owl. The owl wasn't hurt much at all, and he stood at attention when the cat rubbed up against it. The look in the birds eye made me nervous (I wasn't sure if he could just snag the 8# cat and fly off), so I let out a loud "Boogie, boogie, boogie!" The owl turned his head 180 degrees to see what/who I was (as only an owl can do), and then it did a beautiful quick and silent takeoff, not to be seen again. They are beautiful birds, but they can be deadly to little critters. Hide the children and small pets!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Uban wildlife on 12/07/2012 11:56:46 MST Print View

We had a coyote taking out cats in the neighborhood and the raccoons are rampant (and brazen). This is 6 miles from the Space Needle. A big local park (Magnuson) is home to falcons and hawks and a day roost for bald eagles.