Whoooo are you looking at?
Meet Brunswick, the snowy owl! This lovely lady was caught by a group of researchers at the Brunswick Executive Airport in Brunswick, Maine earlier this month. After being fitted with a GPS transmitter, she was released at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge on January 13th. Since that time, she has been happily flying around the town of Wells, Maine.
Brunswick is a new member of a group of snowy owls that are being tracked by researchers with Project SNOWstorm, a study that is using solar-powered GPS transmitters to record the location and altitude of tagged snowy owls at 30 second intervals, 24 hours a day. This detailed look at the migratory path of individual birds is giving researchers the clearest view of snowy owl behavior to date.
This project was fueled by the historic snowy owl irruption of 2013-2014. Although snowy owls are generally cold weather birds, occasionally “irruptions” occur, where unusual numbers of snowy owls move south. About once every 40 years or so, an unusually large irruption occurs, where snowy owls come flooding south in large numbers. One of these mega irruptions occurred in 2013-2014, with snowy owls being spotted as far south as Florida and Bermuda!
Researchers with Project SNOWstorm want to know more about snowy owls. They hope that the information they gain through this study will help conservationists to make more informed choices, allowing snowy owls like Brunswick to live long and healthy lives.
If you would like to follow Brunswick’s escapades, check out her interactive migration map!
To learn more about Project SNOWstorm, please visit the Project SNOWstorm website.