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Program to look at Snowy Owl research

By Staff | Oct 31, 2014

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society’s monthly program for November will feature a presentation about Project SNOWstorm, a collaborative effort that used last winter’s Snowy Owl “irruption” to enhance research on these arctic birds.

The program will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Hospice of the Panhandle facility in Kearneysville.

Admission will be free and everyone is welcome to attend.

The speaker will be owl expert Steve Huy. He is a co-founder and co-director of Project Owlnet, which facilitates communication, cooperation and innovation among a network of owl migration researchers across North America and abroad.

Snowy Owls normally live their entire lives in the High Arctic but every once in a while, for reasons that are not clear, they come flooding south in a phenomenon known as an “irruption.”

Smaller irruptions happen every few years, but very rarely a “mega-irruption” occurs, in which Snowy Owls show up much farther south, and in vastly greater numbers, than usual.

The irruption of the 2013-2014 winter was such an event, the largest in the United States’ Northeast and Great Lakes regions in forty or fifty years.

Project SNOWstorm capitalized on this event by fitting as many captured Snowy Owls as possible with small, lightweight transmitters. The goal has been to better understand the lifestyle and behavior of these birds, and thereby to enhance conservation of them.

Interestingly, the funds for this effort were raised largely though crowdsourcing.

The Hospice facility’s address is 330 Hospice Lane, Kearneysville. The Audubon program will be held in the main meeting room of the facility’s Main Office building.

There is plenty of parking at the facility.

For more information go to www.potomacaudubon.org or contact Krista Hawley at adultprograms@potomacaudubon.org or 703-303-1026.