Snowy Owls in New England (I’m in, finally)

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Owl perches on a roof top at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl perches on a roof top at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

So I finally got into all this Snowy Owl action.

Snowy Owls are being seen in larger-than-usual numbers along the East Coast this fall and winter. Snowy Owls breed in the Arctic and typically spend their winters well north of New England.

On Monday, a Snowy Owl was spotted at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. The large birds of prey have been seen up and down the Connecticut coast since early November. 

I found the owl quickly and took a few photos out the passenger’s side window, but a passerby flushed the large bird. (Remember to give them a wide berth if you see one.) I found the bird about half an hour later and snapped a few photos from a sidewalk that dog walkers were using. The owl just watched everybody walk by.

Oh, and the weather was foggy with a steady rain falling. (My excuse for the photos not being so great.)

Experts believe this year’s irruption is due to either a lack of lemmings, their main food source in the Arctic, or a particularly good breeding year for Snowy Owls, or a combination of those factors.

Snowy Owls hunt during the day, unlike many owl species. They are large owls, measuring 24 inches tall.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Owl perches on a fence post at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl perches on a fence post at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Owl perches on a fence post at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl perches on a fence post at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.