A Bird’s Journey Tracked, Mapped & Shared

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From National Public Radio (USA) today, this should have your attention even if you are not a birder:

We Followed A Snowy Owl From Maryland To Ontario

At the end of 2013, snowy owls started showing up far south of their usual winter range. The big white birds were reported in South Carolina, Georgia, even Florida.

Dave Brinker, an ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, had never seen anything like it.

Snowy owls usually don’t venture much farther south than Maine. In the winter of 2013, one was spotted near Jacksonville, Fla.

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Source: IUCN, eBird.org  Credit: Alyson Hurt and Matt Stiles / NPR

“Something huge is going on,” Brinker told his colleagues. “We won’t see something like this for a long time, probably for the rest of our lifetimes.”

The invasion wasn’t just a boon to birders; it was a scientific opportunity. The lives of snowy owls aren’t well understood because they spend much of their lives in the Arctic, far from humans. But Brinker and fellow bird biologist Scott Weidensaul knew if they could follow the movements of these wide-ranging owls as the birds returned to the frozen north, the scientists could learn a lot about their hunting patterns, breeding behavior and migration routes.

So the two men launched Project Snowstorm. They trapped visiting owls and fitted them with solar-powered GPS transmitters…

View the video and/or read the whole article here.

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