SNOWY OWL
From Vermont Fish and Wildlife.
 
We are nearing the end of species moving out of Vermont for the winter, while others, like northern strike and common redpoll are moving in. Reports of snowy owl sightings are coming in from nearby Canadian provinces and Connecticut, so you might be seeing some here as well.
 
Check out this week’s bird report to learn where to look for snowy owls, tips on setting up your bird feeders for winter, and updates on the nesting season for bald eagles, peregrine falcons and common loons.
 

What to Look For in the Next Two Weeks

Snow Geese continue moving through the Champlain Valley. Reports are up to 3,000 at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area. They will likely hit peak numbers in the next few weeks.  

They are likely near peak numbers now, though sightings will typically continue through mid-December. While at Dead Creek WMA, observers may also find Short Eared Owls and Northern Harriers over the open fields.

 Snowy Owl by Richard LevineThe first Snowy Owl reports are approaching Vermont. Snowy Owls breed during the summer in the arctic, and in some years they will make their way as far south as the northern United States.

In years when Snowy Owl reproduction has been particularly good and many young birds have survived, there may be large “irruptions” of owls moving south from the arctic for winter. The closest Snowy

Owl reports at the moment are occurring around Ottawa, Montreal, Connecticut and Long Island. Keep a look out for these birds in open locations like hayfields and airports.     

Now is a great time to pull out the feeders, give them a thorough cleaning, and buy some feed before the start of the season. Feeders are an excellent way to attract winter seed-eating birds. Black-oil sunflower seed is a great all-around option, while “thistle” (or “nyjer”) seed is the favorite of GoldfinchesSiskins, and Redpolls. We recommend bird feeders be placed outside no sooner than December 1, to minimize conflicts with bears. Also, to protect the birds you are feeding we recommend cleaning and sanitizing feeders weekly and keeping domestic cats indoors.