Some interesting updates on blog entries this from this month:
First regarding this week's snowy owl. An interesting email came on the birding listservs from Linda Whyte regarding the owl being seen now and that there apparently was another snowy seen earlier in the winter:
"For those interested, the owl currently being seen at the airport is not the same one that was seen earlier. Apparently, a couple of weeks ago the party hired by the airport to trap the snowy succeeded in doing so. That bird, a very white male, was examined at The Raptor Center, found to be in good health, banded, and then taken for release (where is unknown) by the party that captured it. Raptor Center personnel recommended against removal, because the owl hadn't been in trouble, and due to their territorial nature, it was likely another one would take its place as soon as it was gone. It appears that has happened, as this one has the black widow's peak and lots of barring."
I've heard that snowy owls are sometimes trapped at the Minneapolis/St Paul Airport and relocated because the official airport statement is concern that they owls might collide with a plane and cause an accident, but I wonder if it has more to do with the influx of birders coming to view the owl and making a headache for airport security?
Interesting to note that there have been two owls and the first was missed by many of us. Also, this is quite the photographed owl. Lots of peeps are posting links to photos on the Minnesota birding listservs, check out EcoBirder's shots--he got shots of the snowy in the sun--those eyes just glow. Rumor has it that Jim Williams of the Star Tribune will have photos in his column soon.
The other interesting note that showed up on the listserv was regarding the Bonaparte's gull observed on December 9 on Black Dog Lake ( the gull circled above). When I was out trying to bone up on my gulls, this was one of the eight species observed. Jim Mattsson was excited when it was first observed and commented that it was late for a Bonaparte's to be in Minnesota this time of year. When Jim talks gulls, he gets a twinkle of excitement in his eyes. He even wondered, where had this gull been all this time. Well, we might have our answer from Linda Sparling:
"Many of you may remember the gull reported as as a possible Little Gull at Lake Calhoun in mid-October. Throughout the day after it was first reported, many noted that it was on death's door, wouldn't make it through the day, was going to die at any moment, etc. It also became apparent that the gull was in fact a Bonaparte's Gull.
Update - I took the gull to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota. They nursed it back to health. They noted that it was very weak and depressed and had trouble walking. Today I received a card from the Center indicating the gull recovered well enough to be released 12/9 at Black Dog! Coincidentally, three observers reported seeing one Bonaparte's Gull in Dakota County on that same day. I was surprised to hear it had been released up here. When I spoke to the folks at the Center, they felt there weren't enough BGs around for a safe release. They were willing to put it on a plane for points South to ensure a safe release. It ended up being such a fighter, I gotta think it's doing well!"
It is interesting that it was late and there weren't any Boneparte's around that the gull was released at Black Dog, but in this economy, perhaps getting the bird on a flight was difficult. There's no doubt that the bird in the photo is the released gull. Interesting, I guess we have the answer to Jim's question about where it had been all that time. Here's hoping it either finds warmer climates or manages well the rest of the winter.