Recently Ellen and I were invited by a group called the Friends of the IBA (Important Bird Area) to look for Snowy Owls near Fort Edward, NY. This nonprofit group is working with farmers and other landowners to protect 2,000 acres of remaining grassland, which is critical for many endangered and threatened birds. So far they have been able to preserve over 300 acres of this vital habitat.
We discovered that Snowy Owls migrate from the arctic to the snow covered grasslands of the Northern US in years when food is scarce. They live on lemmings and mice and eat up to 1,600 in a single year. This is an important factor in keeping these highly reproductive rodents under control.
The Snowy Owl has been highly regarded throughout history. Our Paleolithic ancestors even left painted images on cave walls in Europe over 20,000 years ago.
We searched for several hours and were packing up to leave when this Owl flew out of a snowy field and landed on a telephone pole over our heads.
Like they say… success in birding depends on a combination of perseverance and luck.