It's an interesting hypothesis but I'm not certain that winter
daylight sightings of Barred Owls necessarily indicate an irruption of
Maybe it has something to do with Harry Potter and Voldemort?
But seriously, in previous years when we had early, deep snow cover,
daylight Barred Owl sightings in edge and even urban habitats were a
fairly common occurrence. Barred Owls are a relatively common local
species, but they always create a stir because they're, well, owls.
My guess is that even in the absence of irruptive population pressure,
food stress caused by the early, heavy snow cover is driving the local
population into the open and into the daylight to hunt.
Quoting Sean Beckett <[log in to unmask]>:
> Perhaps the large number of Barred Owls is part of the irruption of
> northern birds caused by this summer's poor seed/cone crop and
> rodent population crash in Canada (listen to Bridget's intverview
> with Scott Weidensaul in October 31st's BEEKS for more info!).
> Northern Saw-Whet Owl numbers were through the roof this year for
> the same reason. We caught 379 here outside of Poughkeepsie, NY,
> compared to 57 last year.
> While Barred Owl's don't "migrate" like Saw-Whets, they are probably
> dispersing from the same regions in search of prey. The fact that
> we're seeing them along roads so often this year may just be because
> the interior is full too!
> Last week i saw a Barred Owl sitting on a speed limit sign on Harbor
> Rd in Shelburne!
> Other thoughts??
> Sean Beckett
> "BUTLER, Bridget" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Greetings Everyone!
> LOTS of BARRED OWL sightings it seems recently. We had our CBC on
> Friday and I think about 50% of our teams reported owls. One group
> had three! And these aren't owling teams...just the day-trippers!
> Hmmmm, not enough prey in the interior that they're getting pushed
> out onto the edges??? Thoughts anyone??
> Bridget Butler
> Audubon Vermont
> Conservation Education Coordinator
> 255 Sherman Hollow Road
> Huntington, VT 05462
> [log in to unmask]
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