Wild New Jersey Exclusive: Typically arctic snowy owl spotted on NJ beach in summertime

                                               A snowy owl spotted among debris on the beach.  
                                                          Photo courtesy of Pete Yuschak 

A birder was out walking the Caven Point beachfront during the Liberty Golf Tournament, and came across an unexpected arctic blast.  One of the snowy owls that spent the winter in the urban metropolitan area decided to stick around all year.  Pete Yuschak took this shot and sent it to Michael Britt, an expert birder who has observed many of the snowy owls that visit the Meadowlands and Liberty State Park during the winters throughout the past decade.  Britt mentioned that snowy owls have lingered at Boston's Logan Airport until July in past years, but this summertime sighting appears to be a first for New Jersey.


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  • 9/9/2009 6:54 AM EJ wrote:
    This bird most likely is sick, attempting a rescue & a vet & rehabilitator would be advisable before someone does it harm.
    thank you
    Reply to this
    1. 9/11/2009 9:44 AM Michael Britt wrote:
      I do not think that the bird is sick. The Snowy that wintered appeared to be a 1st winter male. Male Snowy Owls take three years to turn all white, so this very well may be a 1st summer male (the same bird that wintered) on his way to being a 2nd winter male. There is no reason to think that this bird is sick as it was observed flying and on a later date, hunting. Not to mention, the Liberty State Park area is loaded with prey e.g., Eastern Cottontails, Norway Rats, Ring-necked Pheasants, and plenty of gulls. We do not know why some birds "summer" out of range but it happens all the time, (successfully I might add) with other species such as scoters, loons, etc.
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      1. 11/8/2009 1:25 PM Danielle wrote:
        When was this picture taken? Had the bird been spotted on the beach throughout the summer?

        I agree that since the bird is hunting and moving around that it is likely not injured. However, from our research a male Snowy Owl may never reach the pure white phase. While the males will have lighter markings than the females, it seems it is rare to see a male that is pure white.
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  • 10/5/2009 8:33 PM 4th1 wrote:
    saw owl in boat launch lot this evening(10/05/09) bird appears to be fine,flying from perch to perch etc.bird is pure white from what I could see
    Reply to this
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