Monthly Archives: January 2012

Whooo-whoooooooo! A note from the Sarett Nature Center…

Keep your eyes open for snowy owls as several have been reported throughout northern Michigan and a few have made it to Berrien County. They are here looking for food. I have been studying snowy owl migration

over the last 40 years. The owls live in the Alaska tundra, north of the tree line where it is flat and windy. When they come south they are looking for the same habitat. Watch for them in open fields, on ice flows along Lake Michigan, in large parking lots or on top of buildings (they will not be in trees). Look for dirty white squares out in the open. Forty years ago scientists thought once the owl migrated south, they would die, but they now have evidence that the owls do return to the tundra. Research shows that the snowy owls adapt to southern habitats and learn to eat fish, crows, small mammals, starlings and rats. I once noted snowy owls catching pigeons under a bridge. Most migrating snowy owls are young, white in color with brown spots. Female adults have less brown spots and adult males can be nearly pure white. Recently, two snowy owls have been seen at the south jetty of New Buffalo harbor. If you see a snowy owl, call me at Sarett 927-4832. Chuck Nelson

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