2014-01-24 / Nature

Walking with Snowy Owls

By Jack Kelly


Snowy Owl talk Feb. 2. (Photo by Jack Kelly) Snowy Owl talk Feb. 2. (Photo by Jack Kelly) The Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is offering an exceptional Snowy Owl program on Sunday, Feb. 2 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Shannon Griffith, United States Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer Program Facilitator, will lead a brief discussion on Snowy Owl behaviors, habitat and hunting prowess and then conduct a guided trail tour in search of these visitors from the Arctic. For those who have not observed a Snowy Owl or just want to see one again, this program will offer a prime chance at doing that.

Over the past two months the refuge has been a winter home to as many as four juvenile Snowy Owls at times. They have been sighted hunting, resting, and flying over the fields, shorelines and wetlands of this scenic wildlife haven. On average, these raptors will begin their flights back north in the first two weeks of February, timing their arrivals back home in the Arctic by mid-March.


Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Griffith, an avid wildlife enthusiast explained, “This program will allow individuals and families to understand and view these owls in their natural habitats. We will discuss the possible reasons for the young owls’ irruption (forced migration due to prey shortage), and the survival of species members here at Sachuest Point. We should be able to observe at least one, if not multiple owls during our excursion around the refuge’s trails. I’m sure that we will see other wintering species, especially waterfowl that include Harlequin ducks, Bufflehead ducks, loons, grebes and more. Raptor species including Harrier hawks, Red-tailed hawks, Peregrine falcons, Merlin falcons, and American Kestrels are also actively foraging in many areas of the refuge. Sighting any of these birdsof prey will be an added bonus to our trek together. This program is perfect for families, bird watchers and anyone who wants to know more about the avian species at Sachuest Point.”

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