GENESEO — This winter social media has been sharing spectacular images of snowy owls and as part of a conservancy project a tagged snow owl, now named ‘Geneseo’ will be tracked and his behavior recorded so conservationists can make proper decisions to protect this spectacular and mysterious animal.
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Project Snowstorm took flight in 2013 after an irruption of snowy owls came from south of the arctic. An irruption is when, for reasons not fully understood, snowy owls leave the high arctic and flood down south. Last year, during the winter of 2013 -2014, there was a once-in-a-lifetime mega irruption; snowy owls were found as far south as Florida and Bermuda. Conservationists seized the opportunity to tag these beautiful predatory birds as a way to learn more about them and their way of life.
“In 2013 we saw the largest irruption of snow owls in the past 50-100 years,” said David Brinker from Project Snowstorm. “What we are seeing now is some of those birds are returning a year older.”
According to Brinker the adult owls tend to stay up in the arctic and the younger ones travel down south, searching for a less competitive food market. The owls eat water fowl and mice, as well enjoy being near willow trees where they like to snack on the buds.
Part of the challenge in tagging the owls is that the bands are solar powered and owls don’t like to face the sun. Thanks to improved technology they are able to accurately track the owls where they ‘check in’ and their location is recorded.
The bird has officially been named ‘Geneseo’ since he was caught in town on Nations Road. The ‘fiesty’ bird has been in the area for at least a month.
According to Tom McDonald, who safely caught ‘Geneseo’ the arctic predator is at least 4 years old and old enough to breed. Apparently ‘Geneseo’ is feasting while in the area, as he weighs 1855 grams which is 200 grams above average. ‘Geneseo’ will likely start heading back to the tundra within the next month or so in anticipation of finding a mate and suitable breeding grounds.
The weekly check ins show their new location. you can track ‘Geneseo’ by clicking HERE.
You can also follow their Facebook page by clicking HERE.
PHOTO CAPTION TOP: Tom McDonald on the left and Dave Mathiason on the right tag ‘Geneseo’ and release him safely. (Photos Provided)