The Indiana Audubon is offering tips this holiday season for those seeking to see an Indiana snowy owl. Snowy owls rank as one of the most charismatic wildlife species in the world, and the heaviest of North American owls. The usually absent arctic owl only visits Indiana during cyclical “irruptions” occurring every four to five years, but smaller invasions can occur year to year depending on annual species movements and food supplies up north.
Sightings in the last week have occurred throughout Michigan and Wisconsin, particularly along the Great Lakes. The first owls have begun to show up in Indiana as well. Owl fans should be on the watch now for the first snowy owls entering Indiana. Areas along the lakefront in northwest Indiana are often the first locations that host snowy owls. Later in the season, open agricultural land and airports around the state are another good location to be on the search.
“The next couple weeks should really show us how much this winter’s owl incursion will be and is a great opportunity for those wishing to see this piece of the arctic in Indiana,” said Brad Bumgardner, executive director for the Indiana Audubon. “Bird watching Facebook pages and the Cornell Lab’s eBird.com are some of the best places to seek out current sightings. However, it’s important to remember that these birds are out of their element and observers should keep their distance, as to not stress these already weary, winter travelers.”
To learn more about the Indiana Audubon Society and to search for upcoming programs and field trips near you, visit them on the web at www.indianaaudubon.org.