Thursday, January 22, 2009

Owl Native To Arctic Spotted In Tennesse

Snowy Owl Seen Around Spring Hill In December

By Reported by Alan Frio
updated 10:17 a.m. HT, Wed., Jan. 21, 2009

SPRING HILL, Tenn. - The thousands of acres that surround the General Motors plant in Spring Hill have become home to a bird not native to Tennessee.

A snowy owl, which is more commonly found in Canada and polar regions, was first spotted in the area in December.

Bird lovers from other states have flocked to the area with their telephoto lenses in hopes of capturing a peek at the rare site.

Local wildlife experts said the last citing of a snowy owl in Tennessee was about 22 years ago.

"The last one that I know about was seen in Dover, Tenn., (around) 1987, so its super rare," said Shari Meghreblian, the on-site environmentalist for the 2,400 acres surrounding the GM plant.

"These are arctic birds, and they do fly south to find food, and, you know, we're not really sure why he came this far south," said Meghreblian. "It's quite a lifetime find really, so we've had folks from the middle Tennessee area, and even so far away as Georgia and Alabama."

As word spreads of the bird's presence in middle Tennesee, people are scrambling for one fleeting look at something they may never see again in their lifetime.

"Probably when it starts to turn warm, he'll fly north again. So we don't know that we'll see him again," said Meghreblian.

GM officials said the owl's prescence has spread fast, causing a back-up Tuesday on Highway 31.


BirdingMaine said...

Very interesting story.

I wonder with all of the far northern owls spotted this winter here in the northeast if it would be considered an irruption?

Here in Maine, Snowy Owls are everywhere, Northern Hawk Owls are being reported in 2 areas and a Boreal Owl was spotted last week.

Susan Gets Native said...

Craziest place I have heard of a Snowy...
Denver Holt said the southernmost Snowy was found in THE BAHAMAS. (If anyone other than Denver had said that, I would have thought they were drunk) Of course, the bird was half dead, going that far.

If it was in Tennessee, maybe it flew over here? I have YET to see one of the buggers.

Dave said...

I've been out to see our new celebrity a few times now here in Spring Hill. We've had some very cold temperatures and winds from the north that I suspect brought our feathered friend to us. It seems to be in good shape. It's resting in a 500 acre field where I'm sure it can find all sorts of mice. Hopefully it will find its way back north when it needs to.

Mezamashii said...

How cool is that! You have a great blog!

Dave said...

As you all knw, I present a Snowy Owl for Bird TLC's Education Program. I find these guys extremely fascinating. They travel far distances and only for food. If food is scarce, that's when they go look for some. They aren't migratory, but nomadic. Thy have even been spotted on ice floating in the Berring Sea and Arctic Ocean feeding on marine birds like Eiders.

They are even being studied by satalite now. More and more is being discovered by this mystery bird.