For those of us not fortunate to have wildlife come to us, we need to go to the experts. This winter Adirondack raptor experts are offering opportunities to come across such majestic creatures as the snowy owl, or at the very least learn how to sight them on your own.
According to James Ryan’s book Adirondack Wildlife: A Field Guide, there are only three owl species common to the Adirondack Park: the Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Northern Saw-whet. This year in particular the Adirondacks and southern regions have seen an influx of snowy owls that has been attributed to a shortage of their common food supply. Though not wishing to take advantage of its plight, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more and possible view a snowy owl.
Brian McAllister of the Paul Smith's VIC is leading an Owl Prowl on March 28 at 7:30 pm for 10/person, $5 for Friends of the VIC. Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. Preregistration appreciated. Call the VIC at (518) 327-6241.
the Friends of the Washington County Grasslands IBA (Important Birding Area) are celebrating their annual Winter Raptor Fest on March 29-30 at Gallup Ridge Farm in Fort Edwards.
For those that pre-register there are guided morning and evening bird walks along with programs and lectures from the people at Adirondack Raptors, the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, NYS Wildlife Rehab Council, The Wildlife Institute of Eastern NY and Vermont Institute of Natural Science. (VINS). There are also plenty of other fun such as sleigh or wagon rides, children’s games, crafts and food vendors.
Another owl viewing chance is the Lake George Land Conservancy’s free evening Owl Prowl on March 29th from 7:30 – 9 pm at the town of Putnam’s Last Great Shoreline. Participants will learn different common owl calls and even be able to purchase an owl hooter ($10). My kids and I will be there and I hope to see you as well. The Owl Prowl will consist of a free 1.5-mile round trip moderate hike.
I hope that attending one or all of the above events will enable me to see a snowy owl before they make their way home.
If none of those dates work, try searching nearby areas with the eBird Range Map. This real-time online list provides opportunities to help document your own birding observations.
© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.