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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.)

Jane
(Shoreham)


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 it
> 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 that
> 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.
>
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/85270080@N05/11241509806/
>
> Justin
>