A Snowy Owl spotted by the author of this blog in 2013 on a beach around
New York Harbor.
Will New York Harbor once again be visited by many Snow Owls, as it did four years ago in 2013. In a typical winter, at best one or two Snowy Owls visit beaches or coastal parks near and around New York Harbor, but in 2013 the region had dozens of sightings. They were part of the largest Snowy Owl irruption in the U.S. since the 1920s. Will it happen again this year?
Snowy Owls, which typically breed in the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia, have been spotted in abundance in New York and New Jersey in recent months. Basically young Snowy Owls fly down here when their population is high, but food supplies are low. So far, the birds seem to be moving around a lot rather than staying in one place.
If you see a Snowy Owl, please view these magnificent large birds from a respectable distance. Leave the weary owls alone to rest and hunt. Owls do not tolerate noise or people getting too close. They need quiet and plenty of room to feel safe. People should not view Snowy Owls too long, or pursue or chase the owls for closer looks or photos with cell phones or point-and-shoot cameras that require pictures in close proximity to the subject. Please respect wildlife, give them distance.
Hold Onto Your Bins: Another Blizzard of Snowy Owls Could Be Coming
Will this winter bring an irruption of the Arctic raptors to the continental U.S.?
A few clues from up north have Project SNOWstorm predicting yes.
By Leslie Nemo
November 17, 2017
Four years ago, thousands of Snowy Owls stormed the northern United States, taking up posts in surroundings drastically different from the flat Arctic tundra over which they typically preside. Some whiled away the hours peering at dog walkers from suburban fences; one learned to hunt around a Minnesota brewery with mouse problems. In a typical winter, around 10 Snowies visit Pennsylvania, but in 2013 the state was graced by 400. They were part of the largest Snowy Owl irruption, or influx of a species into a place they don’t usually live, the U.S. has seen since the 1920s.
If you missed it, you might be in luck. Project SNOWstorm, a volunteer-fueled Snowy Owl-tracking organization founded after that irruption, predicts another wave of Arctic raptors will hit North America this winter, according to their most recent blog post.
Scott Weidensaul, one of the directors of Project SNOWstorm, says the clues point to a big irruption, but the group also fully admits there's no way to definitively know how big it could be or if it will even happen at all. “There’s a little bit of voodoo and black magic in all of this,” Weidensaul says. Though Snowy Owl migration patterns are mostly mysterious, there have been some tell-tale signs that the birds are on their way.
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell