Snowy Owl Spotted In Delaware


snowy owl, delaware seashore state park, irruption, arctic migration, migrating raptors
Snowy Owl seen last year in Delaware Seashore State Park

A Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) was spotted in Delaware today near Leipsic.  The owl was not seen for very long.  Could this be the beginning of another massive irruption?  Last year’s migration was a rare one, snowy owls were found as far south as Florida.  Not much is known about irruptions, but it is believed a massive amount of available food (lemmings) leads to larger broods of baby birds.  This causes them (owls) to migrate further south.  They can survive just fine, however all species of  raptors are subject to higher mortality rates, aside from natural causes, there are vehicle collisions, rodenticide poisoning and electrocution on power lines.  Last year not long after the first arctic blast we started seeing snowy owls in Delaware Seashore state park, Cape Henlopen State Park and the Delaware Bay beach communities.  Assateague Island saw its fair share as well.  There were literally snowy owls popping up every where even in urban areas and airports.  They prefer wide open spaces like our beach, dune, and marsh areas.   Finding them is not hard, these owls are the largest of the North American owl species, the males are almost pure white, but females and young birds have some dark scalloping.  If you see them, do not disturb them they are active day and night hunting for their food.  If you see one in or near the dunes in our parks please stay out of, and off the dunes.  Last year many people were ticketed for crossing the dunes and one person even drove their SUV into the dunes to get a closer look.  Observe nature by not disturbing nature.  I have yet to see any in our area of Sussex county, but I have been looking daily while fishing, and will keep you posted.

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Fish On!!

Rich King


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