Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

April 11, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday Vol. 4

Time has flown, hasn't it? Hard to believe it's been 3 weeks since I last blogged. I figured if nothing else, might as well throw a Wildlife Wednesday out there.

I've not been out a lot to be honest. Things are getting busy with the nest boxes, setting up for the nesting season (stay tuned for a blog there soon)... which is on a delay because of this never ending winter weather.

The only thing that comes to mind to blog about right now is what may have been my last Snowy Owl encounters for the 2017/18 winter. As you may be aware, I've had quite a few night sights and encounters especially the last couple months.

Despite me even recently having 5 Owls in one night with my drive home, I'd still been wishing for some day time views but never bothered going out of my way to look.

Stunning all white Snowy Owl that surprised me on April 2nd at my exit off the 401.

Another Snowy near my exit that same night.

Anyway, someone must have been listening to me because I was suddenly, and finally rewarded with a few day time encounters.

First being, driving into work one day, I happened to spot a Snowy Owl near my exit. Thankfully I was a little early and had ample time to go venture over to where the Owl was and have a better look. I had my camera with me which gave me more reason to go and see. I worked my way around the back roads and figured out where the Owl was. It was a windy rainy afternoon and the Owl was in a closed off area but I could still see it from the adjacent parking lot behind a warehouse. Within a minute or two of me viewing it, the Owl took flight and grabbed something out of the grassy area between us. It was a small rodent and the Owl flew to a nearby rooftop to consume it. That was exciting and put a smile on my face going into work.

Then last week I was fortunate to see 2 Snowy Owls Friday morning. They were on the same fence line, about 100 ft from each other.

It was great seeing this Owl dive after who knows what and then return to the post.

The next day Angie and I went out for a dusk walk in the same area. We encountered 3 Snowy Owls and nothing else. Best was seeing this Owl fly down into the field and grab some dinner.

What an end to the season I must say. Although winter still seems to be holding it's grip on Southern Ontario, so was this really the end?

It certainly was a banner season for the Snowy Owl. So many people got to see and enjoy these birds in many areas, sometimes even quite unusual spots like much closer to the downtown area. We must remember they are here only trying to survive, they are not here for our personal entertainment. The Owls must be respected and given the space to do their thing without harassment from us. Sadly 4 Wednesdays in a row now there has been a call to pick up an injured Snowy Owl in the Pearson Airport area. I'm unsure what was wrong with them, but it's been like clock work, about noon every Wednesday for a month now a driver is needed to pick up one contained by staff. Unfortunately there was also an incident of one getting sucked into a jet's turbine recently.

There is speculation that while this was an incredible year for them, they are yet another struggling wildlife species on our planet. Someone sent me a link a while back but I cannot find it. I've read this in a few spots I've researched.

The Snowy Owl is not considered endangered under the Canada’s Species at Risk Act. In 2017, however, the International Union for Conservation of Nature uplisted the Snowy Owl to “vulnerable” status. The IUCN speculates that the declining population may be attributable to the effect of warming temperatures on prey availability: lemmings are especially sensitive to temperature changes because they depend on deep, fluffy and thick layers of insulating snow to breed successfully.

If anyone has read any articles regarding their status lately, feel free to add in the comments.

Lastly, some may think the Snowy Owl is my favorite Owl. It's not. I don't have a favorite. I like them all for one reason or another, much like any other bird or mammal species. I've been blessed with all my encounters for a few winters now, never really having to go out of my way. They are a welcomed break from work when I am on my break. They are a treat to see on my way home, helping me forget the work day. And recently awesome to see during the day before work.

Well, it's Wednesday. Cheers to those of you who have popped in for a peek at my latest blog.


Nancy McNamara said...

Enjoyable to read, as usual, Rob. Thanks.

David M A O'Neill said...

Beautiful blog of a beautiful bird.

Anonymous said...

You are very fortunate to see all you see in your travels about Toronto Rob.

Karen said...

Looking forward to seeing our birds return. We've had a banner year for red crossbills. Hundreds of them! We'd never had them here before.

World of Animals, Inc said...

Such a beautiful owl! That is incredible that you were able to take those photos, thanks for the share. Very cool, loved seeing this magnificent creature.
World of Animals