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Jan 12, 2015

Snowy Owls: more of us are seeing more of them

Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters
Nyctea scandiaca
According to the National Audubon Society, the elusive Snowy Owl is appearing more and more frequently in Northern American winter skies.   Sightings of the raptors could surpass last season's record, according to preliminary data from the society's 115th Christmas Bird Count.   The count took place between December 14th of last year and January 5 this year and final results won't be available until June.   Numbers from just the first five days of the 23-day count showed 303 Snowy Owl sightings: a good indication that last year's tally of 1,117 owls will be exceeded.   There is speculation already that the irruption could be the the biggest in 50 years.   Southern Ontario, the Great Lakes and U.S. north-east contain the highest concentrations of sightings.   Locally, in King Township, north of Toronto, the Holland Marsh is a reliable spot  for sightings, but I have not heard of any yet this winter.
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