Thanks for clearing that up Jane and Eric, I didn't realize how dreary my email sounded.
> On Dec 6, 2013, at 4:20 PM, Eric Hynes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hello Vermont Birders:
> I would echo Jane's thought and caution birders to not be too gloom and
> doom when Snowy Owls arrive.
> The paper Jane is referring to from Norm Smith can be viewed here:
> In it, Mr. Smith states:
> "In years when many owls were observed and captured, most of them were
> immature birds and appeared to be in good physical health and body weight.
> This observation could indicate that there may have been an abundant food
> supply on the breeding grounds, which in turn resulted in a large number of
> young hatched and therefore an abundance of Snowy Owls here. The years when
> few owls were observed, a high percentage tended to be underweight adults,
> which perhaps means that food had been scarce on the breeding grounds and
> few young were produced, the result being fewer owls wintering here."
> That's one researchers opinion anyway.
> I suspect our perception of Snowy Owl morality might be skewed a bit
> because they are so spectacular and we monitor them so closely when they
> arrive that we end up knowing their fate at a higher percentage than most
> birds. Because they are big, mostly white, and owls, people are more likely
> to find and intervene on behalf of a struggling Snowy Owl than say a
> sparrow. About 70% of all raptors don't survive their first year.
> One Snowy Owl in Delaware was thought to be sick or injured since it was on
> the ground in a corn field drooping its wings. Birders gathered to see it
> debated whether to intervene or not. Cooler heads prevailed and the bird
> was left in peace. As dusk approached, the bird became more alert and
> started to stir. When it took off at dusk, it was carrying a partially
> eaten rabbit in its talons. Turns out the bird was just mantling the whole
> Good birding,
> Eric Hynes
>> On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> FYI, I haven't seen anything from him this winter, but in past Snowy
>> irruptions, Norm Smith, who bands and relocates Snowies at Logan Airport in
>> Boston has reported that the vast majority were in good to excellent
>> condition, not at all emaciated. Between the airport and the harbor, Logan
>> is a particularly prey-rich environment for a large raptor, but with no
>> snow cover here in VT to speak of and an abundance of small rodents in
>> meadows and farm fields, etc., it isn't hard for a competent large raptor
>> to do quite well, especially near the lake.
>> I don't know what the rate of survival past the first year is for young
>> Snowies, but it's not very high in most raptors because learning to hunt
>> effectively is hard. I suspect that with a big influx of immature Snowies,
>> we're just seeing the ones that fail in a way we ordinarily wouldn't.
>> That is a wonderful Nature documentary, but there's no need to go to
>> Netflix for it. All Nature programs for this season and most from previous
>> ones can be accessed in full for free on the Nature program's Web site,
>> which I believe is PBS.org/nature. (Same goes for other PBS doc series,
>> Frontline, American Experience, Nova, etc.)
>>> On 12/6/2013 3:42 PM, Justin LeClaire wrote:
>>> Hey everyone,
>>> While on my way home from a birding trip to NY, I noticed what turned out
>>> to be a Snowy Owl laying face first about 50 feet out on the ice of Lake
>>> Champlain in Rouses Point. I didn't notice anything specific that would
>>> point to this bird being struck by a car, but it's certainly possible as
>>> the roadway was only another 30 feet from the ice. Instead, I'm thinking
>>> may be another of the many emaciated Snowys being reported this winter
>>> throughout the east.
>>> I also just watched today a good documentary termed "NATURE: Magic of the
>>> Snowy Owl" which can be found on Netflix that follows a pair of Snowys up
>>> in the arctic throughout the breeding season. I wanted to report this
>>> documentary along with the dead Snowy sighting to remind us VT birders
>>> while Snowy Owls are very majestic birds, they're on the brink of death
>>> when they are forced to disperse to find food. The link below is to a shot
>>> of the deceased Snowy in Rouses Point. It's not gory at all, but it is a
>>> pretty sad sight.