Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Snowy Owls never miss a good lemming year in Barrow

Photos by ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Click on photo to enlarge

Here's an excellent story from the Anchorage daily news today.

Snowy icon

Booming lemming population means high raptor survival as well

Anchorage Daily News

Published: September 5, 2006
Last Modified: September 5, 2006 at 03:01 AM

-- Snowy owls that wing over the tundra and perch on telephone poles like giant white eggs are having their most productive summer in at least 15 years, researchers say.

They're everywhere you look in this coastal village, spreading long wings as they soar among weather-stripped homes or dotting sandy banks to avoid blistering Arctic winds.

Why are there so many? Mainly because the lemmings they love to eat are booming.

Barrow and the surrounding North Slope -- the nation's northernmost community -- is the only place in the United States where snowy owls gather to breed. If the food is good enough, some stick around for the frigid winters.

The rest of the story.....

BTW, Bird TLC has 1 Snowy Owl in it's Education Program. It is cared for by Leslie Lancaster in Nikiski. We have another candidate for the program, but it has just recently been applied for to USF&G


Duncan said...

Augurs well for shorebird breeding success too, predators turn to them when lemming numbers are low.

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, I love snowy owls. They're just too rare here in Ohio. I'm hoping for an irruption year soon!

LauraHinNJ said...

Guess I won't be seeing any snowies here in NJ this year.


Glad they're having a good year though.

Dave said...

Last year was a low year for lemmings. We had the snowy's farther south than Anchorage. We've had 3 snowy's in the clinic so far this year. We've also had 2 in on stop overs from other clinics on their way up to Barrow for release.

There are pictures of a snowy having a pin installed into it's broken wing in the photo album on your right.