Outdoors blog

Snowy owls making a scene across the country


View Snowy Owls in the Upper US, 2011-12 in a larger map

BIRDWATCHING -- Inland Northwest birders have been buzzing this month about the early arrival of snowy owls as they migrate from the arctic to northern Washington and new places in North Idaho.

This reporting caught the eye of a Jesse Ellis, a researcher in the Zoology Dept. at University of Wisconsin - Madison, who got interesting results by tabulating all of the snowy owl reports across the country as of Thanksgiving weekend.

"I know there have been many Snowy Owl reports there in the past few weeks, and people are speculating there's an invasion there," Ellis said. "Well, it's everywhere. A few days ago I started mapping reports in WI and MN, and that quickly expanded to ND, SD and MI. Given the good coverage in the Pacific NW, I decided to add those states as well."

The sightings on the map (above) are plotted the point to the nearest population center mentioned in posting by affiliated birders.




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Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column.







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