By now, Snowy Owls are front page news in the Northeast…I’ve seen half-a-dozen myself at this point, but this is the first one I have seen in Falmouth. It has been residing in the Salt Pond area of Surf Drive and it has made a couple bold appearances near the road…I snapped this photo from my car…
It could be seen as a bad sign that this bird has grown accustomed to cars, joggers and cyclists passing by, but it is also a good sign to see the bird successfully adapting to its new surroundings. Experts have suggested that this snowy owl phenomenon is a result of a population boom from last year which forced many snowies south in search of wintering territory. Only time will tell how this phenomenon will affect the long-term presence of these magical birds.
A Snowy Owl on Salt Pond in Falmouth, MA.
Yesterday, at South Cape Beach in Mashpee, MA, I found a deceased Barn Owl lying in the marsh. This is an exceptionally rare bird for Cape Cod, so I scooped the specimen up and brought it home to freeze so that it wouldn’t get destroyed.
There have been many Snowy Owls in the area this winter, and I had just finished photographing one nearby, so it would not be surprising to find out that the Barn Owl was a victim of the Snowy. It is a shame for such a rare bird to turn up dead, but it is also exciting to find evidence of one where they were previously undocumented…
The owl was still pretty intact with only one obvious wound in its neck…hopefully when they autopsy this bird they will have some answers as to what caused its demise. The specimen is now wrapped up in my freezer awaiting collection by the curators of the Ornithology Museum at Harvard University.
This is only my second time seeing a Barn Owl…and although this one is dead, it is amazing to see one up close where you can really appreciate the detail in the plumage. A sad story, but a beautiful bird!