Snowy owls are irrupting across the upper Midwest and down the East Coast as far as the Carolinas in what could be the largest such irruption in at least 20 years. They're here because there were a lot of lemmings in the Arctic last year, and so snowy owls made a lot of snowy owls. This year? Not so many lemmings, and so many of them have come south in search of food. [more inside]
Boring day job? Watch a grizzly bear hunt for salmon at Brooks Falls or the Lower Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska. [more inside]
Why are owls so wise? Perhaps it's because they're utter badasses.
Ferocity is essential for a bird whose frigid, spotty range extends across northeastern China, the Russian Far East and up toward the Arctic Circle, one that breeds and nests in the dead of winter, perched atop a giant cottonwood or elm tree, out in the open, in temperatures 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Dr. Slaght’s colleague Sergei Surmach videotaped a female sitting on her nest during a blizzard. “All you could see at the end was her tail jutting out,” Dr. Slaght said.The New York Times Science section gives an update on some current owl research. [more inside]
"[Irruption] is the term birders use to describe an unusual mass movement of birds into an area. But even that big word fails to capture what happened last winter when thousands of owls descended on northern Minnesota." [more inside]
Owls are rad. Sometimes they look kind of metallic and scary, sometimes wise, sometimes puzzled, and sometimes like skulls, (Index); sometimes they sound like dogs or pigs, sometimes they sound like a little train, sometimes they sound alarmed, (Index of MP3s); sometimes you come across an extensive gallery of Central and North American owls with pictures, ranges, video, and even a description of the '04-'05 Northern Owl Invasion; sometimes it's a dynamic range map of Owls of the Western Hemisphere; sometimes it's the OwlCam homepage with downloadable owl movies, sometimes it's a series of articles on all things owl; sometimes at BiologyBase it's a printable owl sighting lifelist, sometimes it's Ruru, the morepork, New Zealand's native owl at NZBirds. Or, w0t! w0t!, it's attracting barn owls and building nest boxes at World Owl Trust. Previous MeFi birding FPP.