I was driving my rural road on the way to work this morning. It looked like there was a chunk of ice in the road so I slowed down to go around it (because last year I hit the big chunk of ice and broke my bumper). All of a sudden the chunk of ice turned into a white owl looking straight at me. I don’t think it even left the roadkill it was picking at as I drove by. On my way home I determined that it had been picking at a rabbit, and the neighbors said they’d seend the dead rabbit earlier so it was roadkill rather than the owl having caught the rabbit. It was so cool. I guess the snowy owls only come down this far (35 miles NW of Madison WI) when food (lemmings) is scarce in the tundra. It was so cool.
Actually, I just read that it’s the opposite – that a lemming-rich season leads to more baby owls who then head south during the winter. There seems to be some difference of opinion among the experts.
But congrats on the sighting. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for those guys at the local bird refuges. Not surprisingly, they’re hard to find in a snowy marsh – that imitation of a lump of frozen snow is very effective.
A couple of Snowy Owls stayed around the mouth of the Columbia near my home one winter about 10 years ago, caused a little excitement among local birders. Pacific coast beach of Oregon. I saw them myself. Here is a write up:
I like owls, I live in Chicago and we have a barn owl here. I hear him hooting every now and then, and you can see him if you careful. I often wonder if it’s just one owl or a bunch of them. I only ever saw one (at least at a time). I wonder how he got to Chicago. Of course with all the rats and mice and rodents in a big city, I bet he’s having a feast.
Maybe it was delivering mail.
I saw a snowy owl sitting atop a fence post outside of Chicago one winter. Unforgettable.
I’d love to see an owl! There’s a lot of woods around here, there must be some…I have to make do with a sharp- shinned hawk. I see him at least once a week, scoping out my birdfeeder.
The first Snowy Owl I ever saw was sitting on the roof of the house next to my parents’ place in the Bronx in October of 1985. I was staying with my parents, and as I walked out the front door I heard a bunch of crows going nuts in the backyard. I figured they must be harassing a Red-tailed Hawk and went to look. There was the Snowy, sitting on the top of the roof and looking very disgruntled as the crows screeched at him. He finally had enough and flew away.
I’ve seen them a few other times, at Jones Beach and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, but that’s easily the most memorable one.
What a cool sighting! I’ve never seen a snowy.
Not a snowy, but my own owl sighting story.
I was visiting a friend in eastern Tennesse, she lived out in the boonies in the middle of nowhere. We had spent the evening in town, and were driving back to her place oh, about 10 PM I guess. Coming around a curve on a pitch black Tennessee mountain road, there was an owl right in the middle of the road. I assume it was a great horned owl… it was ENORMOUS. And it did not move, just sat there, staring the car down. She dove very slowly to within maybe 20 feet of it. It still didn’t move. We decided it must be hurt, and she decided we were going to get out, capture it and take it to a nature center in the morning.
So we get out of the car, take our jackets off to use as ‘nets’ and began creeping closer. The closer we got, the bigger this bird began looking, untill he looked roughly the size of a pteridactyl to me. I was beginning to question out sanity in this decision… we were roughly 10-12 ft away from him and he decided the crazy women were quite close enough and spread his wings and flew away right over our heads. I swear I almost pee’d my pants.
And that wwas my memorablee owl encounter.
Jeepers, for a moment I thought that story was headed for an “and then I woke up in the hospital” ending.
That’s cool, a couple of years ago I had a incident with an owl. Early one summer morning, some commotion on my roof woke me up. I thought it was just squirrels. A few minutes later, I got up to go to the bathroom, I look out the bathroom window and not more than 3 ft away was an owl on my deck, staring right back at me. After using the bathroom, I put on my robe and tried to shoo the owl off the deck. It jumped off the railing onto the deck, and apparently unable to fly. the slats of my deck were to narrow for it to fit through, so basically it was now trapped on my deck.
An hour later, the owl was still trapped on my deck, so I called the fish and wildlife dep’t. A couple of hours later, an agent was here to assess the situation, to see what would be needed for a trap. He made a few calls, and it went to a neighboring county to get a trap.
As soon as the agent left, the owl decided that it was not wounded after all and took off and flew into a tree in my backyard. I called the agent and told him that it flew away. I saw (and heard) the owl frequently around my yard for the next week or so.
It is not a happy ending though, as an owl got electricuted in a nearby transformer and knocking out power in my neighborhood for about 4 hrs. I can only assume it was the same owl.
Except for the middle of the night hooting, I liked having a owl around. It scared away the squirrels for awhile and i am sure it ate its fair share of other pests.