Tag Archives: Snowy Owl


Thank you to Terry Weber and Eoin Vincent for alerting us to this fantastic Snowy Owl shot!!


CBS News:

Spectacular images of a snowy owl in flight have been captured by Transport Quebec’s traffic camera along Montreal’s Highway 40.

The images were captured on Jan. 3 by a traffic camera at Highway 40 and Sources Boulevard.

Transport Minister Robert Poëti tweeted about the owl early Thursday morning, and the province later released video footage.

See Video Here


Nichole’s Picks 1/9 + 1/10

Pick #1:  

Snowy Owl Prowl at the Crane Estate


Photo courtesy of http://www.the trustees.org

Wide-open coastal sites are the location of choice for wintering Snowy Owls; common perches are dunes and salt hay staddles. In winters past, the owls have been frequent visitors to the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Join us as we hike the dunes in search of these magnificent birds. Unlike most owls, snowy owls are diurnal – they hunt and are active both day and night – so we have a good chance of sighting one even in the daylight hours! We’ll warm up with hot cider at the end of our hike.

Please note: We will be hiking up and down dunes, through soft sand, for approximately 2.5 miles. Dress for the weather to maximize comfort and minimize misery! Water is always good to have along. A spotting scope and/or binoculars are helpful when searching for snowy owls. Suggested ages 13 and older. Pre-registration required.

Click HERE to preregister and to read more!

Pick #2:  

2nd Saturday Free at the Cape Ann Museum


The second Saturday of every month is free for families with school-aged children. Families are invited to the Activity Center to participate in art, history, and cultural activities, and explore the museum using a Seek and Find. Each month has a different theme, from exhibitions, to special celebrations, to treasures from the Archives. It’s all about FUN!



Photo courtesy of the Cape Ann Museum

Pick #3: Open Skate at Talbot Rink

Most Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00-4:00 anyone can take to the ice for a very small fee!  Skate rentals are available as well.

Find the rink schedule HERE


For a more comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid.



Golden-eyed Snowy Owl. Snowies, like all owls, cannot move their eyes; they must swivel their heads around to see.

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

With all the wonderful recent Snowy Owl sightings in Gloucester, I have been reading much about the Snowies and in doing so came upon this great project being conducted by Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum. Since 1981, Smith has been studying the Snowy Owls and as part of his research, he attaches bands and transmitters to the owls at Logan Airport, and then tracks their travels.


From the Mass Audubon website:

Snowy Owls and Airports

As snowy owls migrate north and south, they look for stopping places that resemble their home, the Arctic tundra. To them, the land around Logan Airport fits the bill. It’s low and flat, with short scruffy plants and grasses, and there’s an abundance of small mammals and birds to eat.

Logan airport has the largest known concentration of snowy owls in the Northeast. The birds usually show up at the airport in early November; the earliest date recorded is October 22. They leave in early April; the latest date recorded is July 7.

The airport owls help by scaring away other birds that might endanger aircraft. Unfortunately, they are large enough to pose a threat themselves. To protect both birds and jets, Smith safely captures and relocates snowy owls each year.

Tracking Snowy Owls

Since 1997, Smith has attached tiny transmitters to the healthiest owls he relocates. These transmitters send data such as location, temperature, and altitude, enabling researchers to learn more about:

  • Snowy owl migration routes
  • The rate at which they travel
  • If and where they stop along the way
  • Where they spend the breeding season
  • Where they spend the winter

The transmitter batteries last 1-3 years, and the transmitter harnesses fall off once the batteries have worn out. Researchers have worked hard to determine the best size, weight, positioning, and attachment of the transmitters so that they don’t impact the behavior and health of the birds.

This project is a partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Boise State University (BSU).

Note: This work is performed with special permits. The public is not allowed to enter restricted airport property, or to capture any kind of owl or other raptor.

Migration movement of owl #134376 March 9, 2014- April 11, 2015.


More from Mass Audubon

Link to more very cool Snowy Owl migration maps.

Tips for Viewing Snowy Owls

About Snowy Owls






Snowy Owl Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015So many thanks to Joey and Tom Ring for the wonderful tip. The Snowy is gorgeous!!! My right arm is a little unsteady with robo-cast but still managed to get a few moments. Notice how the Snowy Owl rotates its head, giving him nearly a 360 degree viewing vantage. The crows and a hawk* were noisily dive-bombing the Snowy, but he held his ground. I hope we see him again soon.

*Chris Anderson reports that the perching and diving bird is a Peregrine Falcon.

Snowy Owl Captain Joe and Sons ©Kim Smith 2015


Another Snowy Owl sighting, this submitted by Kim Bertolino in East Gloucester. Thanks so much to Kim for sharing her beautiful photo!


We were talking about Snowy Owls and lemmings in Sunday’s podcast when questions about where lemmings live and what do they look like came up. Lemmings are a small rodent that comprise the bulk of the Snowy Owl’s diet in their northern breeding grounds, the Arctic tundra. They are about 3 to 6 inches long with silky fur and short tales, and are closely related to voles and muskrats. The Snowy eats between three to five lemmings per day in the tundra! Read more about lemmings here.

Although we can’t offer the Snowies a diet of lemmings, we do have lots of mice and rats readily available to hunt during the winter months. Cape Ann’s open shoreline, of beaches, dunes, and rocky outcroppings, are a somewhat similar terrain to that of the tree-less tundra. Snowies are diurnal; they have evolved to hunt during the day and night because in the tundra during their breeding season the hours of daylight are continuous. A Snowy couldn’t survive in the Arctic if it could only hunt during night time like most other species of owls.

The following BBC article about lemmings is super interesting and well worth reading: The Truth About Norwegian Lemmings

E464P8 Norway lemming (Lemmus lemmus) calling on spring snow, Vauldalen, Norway, May

Norway Lemming (Lemmus lemmus)

Photo Credit: Nature Picture Library / Alamy


Adult male Snowy Owl delivering a lemming to a female on the nest. The female is feeding a chick. Bathurst Island, Nunavut, Canada. JuneGerrit Vyn Photography


Snowy Owl Atop The F/V Endeavor Photos from Janelle Favaloro

Heard people were looking for the snowy owl in East Gloucester. Located him on top of the F/V Endeavor today and grabbed a couple of shots. Would have loved to climb aboard the ship for a better shot, but the hubby said No!  Had to stay on the dock!
Janelle Favaloro



This photo was sent to us by friends at Good Harbor Beach.


If any of our readers spots a Snowy hanging around, and you have a spare moment, please, please email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. I would really love to get a good Snowy Owl capture for a current film project. Thank you!

Snowy Owl ~ Ghost of the Arctic

Snowy Owls have captured our imaginations partly because Harry Potter’s faithful companion Hedwig is a Snowy Owl, but also because unlike most owls, Snowy Owls hunt during the day, allowing us to observe their movements and struggle for survival more easily than their nocturnal cousins. Like all owls, the Snowy possesses a superb sense of hearing, binocular vision, and the ability to turn its head 270 degrees. A Snowy Owl’s hearing is so astute, it can capture prey under snow, without ever seeing the intended prey!

Snowy Owl Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015

The Snowy Owl that was spotted in East Gloucester several days ago displayed this very behavior. Perched on a rock wall with a panoramic view of the surrounding fields, it held its body stone still all the while rotating its head around and around, up and down, and side to side. At one point, its head seemed to rotate in its socket nearly 360 degrees. In the two photos you can see the head turned seemingly backward from its front facing body, the second photo to an even greater degree than the first. By comparison, a human’s neck bones would snap if rotated to that measure and the blood vessels would close down. Owls not only have 14 very flexible neck bones, they have specialized blood vessels. When the circulation is cut off, others open to allow blood to flow.

Snowy Owl Gloucester Massachusetts January ©2015 Kim Smith

 Snowy Owl Irruption Update

Are Snowy Owls having a second irruption, two years in a row? It’s too early to tell. Just as with last year’s histoic incursion, they are again showing up all over eastern Massachusetts. My brief encounter with the Snowy Owl only left me wanting more!

You can learn much about the Snowy Owl from the tremendous film, The Magic of the Snowy Owl, linked here from a GMG post during last year’s widespread irruption. GMG FOB Mary McCloud shared this article from an Annapolis magazine, published last January, 2014.

Exciting Immature Snowy Owl Sighting In East Gloucester Today!

Juvenile Snowy Owl  Gloucester Massachusetts. ©Kim Smith 2015

Immature Snowy Owl East Gloucester 

Esme, Meadow, Atticus, Pilar, ©Kim Smith 2015Budding Ornithologists Meadow, Atticus, Frieda, Esme, and Pilar

Snowy Owl East Gloucester Massachusetts ©Kim Smith 2015Thanks so much to my sweet friends Dawn and Michelle for thinking to call me to come see!

Snowy Owl East Gloucester Massachusetts. ©Kim Smith 2015See previous GMG Snowy Owl post: Birds of Cape Ann and the Magic of the Snowy Owl

Rubber Duck Multitasking Polar Dive Preparation

My new swimsuit arrived today from Coastal Dog Apparel in plenty of time for the New Year’s Polar Plunge. These thing are pretty snazzy and might be just the thing for a cold dip. Comfy and loose outer swimsuit with an inner swimsuit that is form fitting. Keeping those kibbles and bits all snug is key when diving into 42° F ice water.

The tourists and the snowy owls all flew away. I wonder why?

The tourists and the snowy owls all flew away. I wonder why?

To prepare for the chill the Rubber Duck went off to Stage Fort Park to check out the snowy owls.

This is a photo of a sexy potato which has nothing whatsoever to do with this post.

This is a photo of a sexy potato which has nothing whatsoever to do with this post.

For Peggy at Pop Gallery

snowy owl

While walking this morning at Stage Fort Park with Elynn Kroger, we encountered this beautiful snowy owl.  A little later, I ran into Peggy Russell from Pop Gallery, who also had seen him, but hadn’t been able to get a shot of him.  This is for you Peggy.  Merry Christmas.  What a special treat on Christmas morning.

Of course it never fails that I encounter something magical when I carry my chumpy little pocket camera.  I wish I’d brought the nice one Paul Frontiero gave me, as I had originally intended.  Lesson.  Never second-guess your first impulse.

E.J. Lefavour

Snowy Owl Photo Taken In Morning- Dead By Afternoon

Christine Morey submits-

Good afternoon Joey –

I took this photo yesterday in Rockport – Magnificent creature!

By this morning, he had died in the same place – just tragic! 

The Animal Control Officer who came to collect him said often owls ingest rodents that have

been poisoned – please ask your readers to re-think using poison-

Thank you!

12013 027

FlashBack GMG Snowy Owl Photos 12/17/2008

FlashBack 2008 GMG Snowy Owl Photos

These were my first photos ever published on the GMG Website on 12/17/2008. I would go down to the State Fish every morning before work to watch the lights of the boats leaving the Harbor.

This one morning in 2008 I saw this Bird which I thought was a seagull with no beak. sitting on a sign post. When I got closer I saw that it was really a Snowy Owl. I rushed home and got my camera thinking it would probably be gone by the time i got back. Luckily it was still there.

I’ve had a recent close encounter with an Owl in my Yard this past Thursday night which I shared with a few special people in my life. It made me think back to this post. When I checked the date that Joey put them up it was 3 years ago today. Kind of Ironic!

All these events i feel have changed my life.

Here is one meaning of seeing an Owl;

In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of owl revolved around guardianship of the underworlds, and a protection of the dead.

In this light the owl was ruler of the night and seer of souls. A misunderstanding of this necessary relationship gave the owl some negative associations with death.

It should be clear that the owl was honored as the keeper of spirits who had passed from one plane to another. Often myth indicates the owl accompanying a spirit to the underworld – winging it’s newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit.

Here are those 12/17/2008 posts;



Paul Frontiero’s Snowy Owl Pic

Paul forwarded a couple pictures of this snowy owl that has been hanging around on the State Fish Pier.  Mark Ring had told me about it last week and said that it was probably responsible for the many dead seagulls around town.  He says they swoop in and rip out their guts and then leave the rest of the gull behind (I guess there’s not much fun in eating feathers)

Thanks for the pics Paul!