For those of us living outside the Arctic Tundra, one of our favourite sights during the winter months is that of the Snowy Owl. We have been treated to some of the very best Snowy Owl activity in recent years and we have heard countless tales of sightings from our region in here eastern Ontario alone.
This regal raptor has the ability to stop even non-birders in their tracks when sighted with their large size, snow-white plumage, and stark yellow-colored eyes, these birds are a treat to behold. These owls are mainly diurnal, meaning they often will hunt at all hours of the day, unlike many other owl species that tend to only move under the cover of night. Their diurnal nature is why these owls are so regularly spotted and reported, giving those planning to get a glimpse some hope that their wish may come true.
Sightings on eBird.org are already on the rise, with many Snowy Owls already being spotted throughout Ontario and the northeastern United States. Those following the Snowy Owl and their irruptions closely believe this to be a promising sign to perhaps another record year for Snowy Owl sightings in Ontario and the United States. Snowy Owls were spotted as far south as Florida and the island of Bermuda during the winter of 2013-2014 as thousands of other sightings were reported during that same period across Ontario and the northeastern United States.
A quick glance of this year’s numbers leads us to believe we are due for an even bigger year of Snowy Owl sightings. This fall has already surpassed the number of sightings that were recorded during the fall of 2013 and many of us are curious to see if this trend will continue as we turn the corner into the winter months.
During September and October of this year, there were more than 50 documented Snowy Owl sightings across the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan of the United States and the first Snowy was documented here in Ontario on September 13, 2015. Keep your eyes peeled as the temperatures continue to drop, document your sightings and have your camera ready as we possibly roll into one of the best Snowy Owl seasons on record!