Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The last snow owl irruption, a sudden increase in the local population of a species, was the winter of 2005-2006. Since lemming populations are cyclic, going through peaks of high and low abundance every three to five years
While known as a migrant, the snowy owl’s migratory movements are predictable and are believed to be related to the abundance of it’s main prey, lemmings.
Nielsen reminded the crowd that if they see a snowy owl with abnormal behavior it’s important to report it. This includes if the owl looks tame, which usually means they are weak.
Meanwhile in KALAMAZOO — An early Comair flight out of the Kalamazoo airport was briefly delayed Friday morning when a snowy stubbornly held its ground on the taxiway before some aggressive shooing by airport workers prompted it to move far enough to allow a safe takeoff.
The massive snowy owl has taken up residence at the airport, delighting area birders and nonbirders alike by its rare presence this far south.
They are lining up against the airport fences hoping for a glimpse of the bird. The Audubon Society of Kalamazoo has sent emails to its members advising them of its presence. Others have posted the information on statewide bird alerts.
"Any time a birder sees a new bird, it is exciting," Alfes said. "After a couple of years, birders have seen all the typical birds in their local area, so the only way to get that old excitement back is to find the occasional rare bird. That's what's going on for birders in this area now.
"It's a real rush."