Snowy Owl in June?

***UPDATE**** 7/1/09

I contacted Emmi again to see if she knew or had heard anything about the owl.  Apparently the Owl hasn’t been seen in several weeks and either moved on or perished, as Snowy Owls are not used to our summer heat.

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The  other night I had the following comment posted here.

Courtesy of Emmi:

“My husband works at the Albany Airport – I guess there’s been a snowy owl perching on the top of the control tower for the last couple of weeks. The airport authority has tried to scare it off because of fear of it getting caught up in an airplane engine, but it just keeps coming back!”

Of course this past winter we had a well documented invasion of Snowy Owls, but one in June?  It has happened in New York State before, most recently near the Syracuse area (incidently another Snowy Owl was reported near Oneida Lake in late May on E-bird).  I forwarded the report to Rich Guthrie, who responded that he had also heard rumors of the Owl.  Later he was able to view photographic evidence of the bird and confirm that it was indeed a Snowy Owl!  Even though this is a great bird for the region this time of year, we held off any public announcement of the bird given the sensitive location and possible health concerns for the bird.  But at this point I’m happy to report the bird appears to be doing well, the FAA has been notified and the current thought is, it does not pose any more threat of being sucked into an airplane engine now than during the winter, when the regularly occur.  So for now, its a wait and see approach.

I also heard that a couple of folks doing a big day on Friday were able to get the bird for their day list.  Not many folks in this region will be able to claim a Snowy Owl on their big day!  Congrats guys!

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