|California miracle: a Snowy Owl|
Today I went on a new kind of pelagic trip and it was quite different from the usual; we sailed on a fresh water craft, and we were going after one specific bird that was not waterfowl – we went after - of all things - an owl .
In crappy years when the pickings are tough in the
Miss Hedwig, wide awake, swiveled her head like a scene out of the Exorcist. Most exciting,her talons and her fluffy, white leg feathers were stained with blood so it is safe to say that someone has been finding enough fat little rodents to keep body & soul together. As the late great Steve Irwin would say, 'Isn't she beautiful!'
UPDATE January 11, 2017: Lovely news, Snowy Owls that fly south are not doing so because of starvation & a lack of prey in the arctic. Recent study proves the snowy rascals are flying south. Here is a direct quote from a Cornell University publication:
“We’ve been finding owls with significant fat stores, some so plump they can be classified as ‘morbidly obese,’ because they’re coming from a part of the Arctic that’s overrun with rodents and other prey,” says Scott Weidensaul, a Project SNOWstorm researcher. He says it appears that when these owls erupt and appear in large numbers in the U.S., it’s due to a bumper crop of young snowies during a very good breeding season—not a lack of food.
They're FAT and well fed! Young owls just venture south, more or less the equivalent of hitting the gym and finding a cool new place to hang out while waiting for spring to return. I have something in common with Hedwig. Now that is magic.