When Hairy Met Snowy (as in Owl)

I spent almost three hours well north of Duluth this morning, my first birding expedition in about one week. I was despairing of seeing anything after 2+ hours of nadda, zippo and zilch in terms of birds. My primary target were Spruce Grouse which definitely were a “no show”. However just before I was about to head home, jackpot!

Definitely an irruption … this is the 10th Snowy Owl I have seen since October! It was fantastic to find an owl in a rural location well north of Duluth which hunts during the day w/o fear of crows. My impression is the Duluth / Superior “industrial” birds tend to hunt at night due to the crows which mob any owl dumb enough to be out in the open. While most owls hunt at night, Snowy Owls breed in the land of the Midnight Sun up in the Arctic. Thus, these birds are used to hunting during daylight hours … assuming no crows. Oh yes, I also saw a Hairy Woodpecker shortly after finding Snowy.

Unfortunately I timed my close-up of the owl wrong. After waiting 15 minutes for the Snowy to pounce on some unsuspecting vole, or at least change perches, I zoomed in with my camera. Bad timing.


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