Monday, February 3, 2014

snowy wanted


One snowy owl to come to my state!

R  E  W  A  R  D 
I am offering a crisp new Ben Franklin 
$100 dollar bill 
to any snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) 
 that comes to Knoxville and/or 
the Great Smoky Mountains this winter.
No questions asked.

 And mister or miss snowy, 
$100 will buy a lot of lemmings.

The short-eared owls in Cades Cove have me wanting unapologetically more.

This has been a big winter for snowy owls. National Geographic reports that in normal times, the winter migration zone for the snowy is along the southern border of Canada. Irruptions, or sharp increases, of these white owls made famous by Mister Harry Potter, in areas outside of Canada are usually only in a few northern states on the East or West coasts.

"An irruption on both the East and West Coasts of America at the same time is rare. The last continental-wide irruption of the snowy owl was in 2011. Sightings were reported in 31 states and most provinces in Canada," reports National Geographic. "This year, the snowy owl is rumored to have traveled as far south as Bermuda and in an east-to-west arc stretching from Nova Scotia to North Dakota." 

Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, all have one or more, even Jacksonville, Florida got a snowy. 

Ijams' vet, Dr. Louise Conrad brought me a newspaper clipping about one that was rescued weak and hungry on a freeway ramp in Louisville, KY. It later died of natural causes (burst carotid artery) but it died knowing someone was caring for it.

This winter, the migrating owls seem to be very young, hatched as recently as last June.

They seem to prefer the wide-open spaces like airports, probably because they look like tundra. Logan International in Boston attracted one, as did Hazelton Regional in the Pocono region of PA. One was hit by a bus in Washington DC and taken to the National Zoo for treatment. So apparently we are stinky with snowys north of the Mason-Dixon.

So, hey, mister or miss snowy, come on down! McGhee-Tyson Airport, only about 8 miles from where I type this sentence, is most hospitable and currently snowyless. 

AND I've got a crisp new $100 bill for you. That equals $110.76 in Canadian dollars at the current exchange rate.  

No comments: