Thursday, January 2, 2020


Every once in a while, for reasons that are not fully understood, Snowy Owls come flooding down from the north in a phenomenon known as an irruption.  With what I saw yesterday, I wonder if another irruption is underway.

I’d received an Audubon alert early afternoon of the location of two Snowies.  I headed out a couple hours later but didn’t see them, so I headed into the ballpark.  I spotted the first one on a fence surrounding the communication towers.

The female Snowy didn’t turn fully around to look at me, but she did keep an eye on me.

I could tell she was edgy with four cars of birders and photographers watching her and taking pitchers.  She brought up that wing, ruffled her feathers, and prepared to take off.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t at an angle to catch her in flight.

She didn’t go far, though.  She’d perched on a guide wire of one of the communication towers.  Snowies have a knack for picking beautiful natural areas on which to perch.  NOT!  She did look right at us this time from a much safer place.

I was preparing to leave when a woman in the next car flashed a peace sign to me.  Is that what she meant?  No, I think she was saying there were two.  So as I moved on, I scoured the ground and my surroundings for another bird.  Across the ballpark, I saw another parked car.  I headed in that direction and immediately saw another female Snowy atop a light pole.  She didn’t turn her head, but that yellow eye followed my movement.

The Snowy looked down at me several times with those piercing eyes.  I kept hoping she would take off so I could catch her in flight.  After twenty minutes, I was giving up hope.

Then she ruffled her feathers and lifted her wings, with her eye still trained on me.  A classic move for taking off!  Here was my chance!  But it was not to be.  Just a false alarm.

I took one last look at the Snowy with her piercing yellow eyes and decided to head home.  Gracie and I had been out all afternoon shooting Snowies, Bald Eagles, and snowscapes, so it was time to call it a day.

We were on the main drag headed for home when I spotted another female Snowy atop a telephone pole above the Taco Bell drive-thru.  I couldn’t resist a few more shots, so I pulled in.

She turned my way so I could get those beautiful eyes again.  I zoomed in, and without the telephone wires, it didn’t look like such a bad perch after all.

Okay, one last close-up.  I’d taken over 500 shots, and it was time to REALLY call it a day.  I’d never seen three Snowy Owls in one day, and it made me think another irruption was going on.  To be continued, I hope.


  1. Wonderful to see all these Snowy shots, Karen! I got some shots of a female Snowy this afternoon. Unfortunately, she was a way across a field. Still, it was great to see one in person, again. Yay!! They are back!

  2. Thanks, Jan. Can't wait to see your NP Snowy. Karen