A mystery is unfolding here at Bar Harbor Airport. One of the many Canadians who entered the United States this winter refuses to go back north, even though all of his fellow migrants apparently did so long ago. He even still wears his winter finery while the temperatures poke into the 70’s here lately. No one has seen anything like it.
He’s a young male Snowy Owl, whom we’ll call Bubo for short. (The scientific name for Snowies is Bubo scaniacus.) As do many owls, Bubo spends most of his days sleeping or watching the world go by with slow turns of his head. But, unlike other owls, Bubo is not inconspicuous.
Snowies aren’t comfortable in dense foliage; they come from tundra country where there are no trees. They’re happy to sit (and nest) on the ground or perch on a fence post or utility pole that will give them a wide vista. When the snow disappears and the sky is blue, it’s not hard to see a Snowy – they seem to flare light. Here's Bubo "hiding":
But Bubo couldn’t care less. His problem is that, in the past few years, there have been too many Snowies up north competing for territories. He and many of his younger colleagues have been forced to spend their winters in the United States, where U.S. birders find them delightful.
Bubo doesn't find the attention that he is getting delightful. However, he seems to be unfazed (if not bored) by it, even though it is world-wide. (Some local birders, including Mary Alley and Michael Good, keep regular tabs on Bubo; they report his continuing unusual status to the world at large through the Cornell Lab’s E-Bird Alert System.)
For those who want to see a few more images of Bubo, click on the link below. We suggest that you use the Slideshow function to see him full-screen. Here’s the link:
Barbara and Dick