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Snowy Owls Moving Into Nebraska?

Nebraska’s second Snowy Owl report of the season occurred today (3 December) east of Kearney.  The first report involved a bird recovered by Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery a couple weeks ago in Saunders County.  Today’s Snowy Owl was first reported by Kent Skaggs on NEbirds.  Late this afternoon, I received  an independent report, apparently of the same bird, that included photos provided by Diana Merryman.  One of her photos is provided, below.

Snowy Owl
This Snowy Owl photographed east of Kearney on 3 December is the first one reported so far this winter.  Photo by Diana Merryman

Today’s report in Nebraska prompted me to check eBird to get a broader perspective for where Snowy Owls have been reported this season.  Most reports are from expected areas, but interestingly, there have been Snowy Owl reports well south of Nebraska in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma.

Snowy Owl map
Snowy Owl reports from eBird during November-December 2014.  Graphic created from eBird.org on 3 December 2014.

Snowy Owls are individually and collectively unpredictable in regards to their movements in winter.  We will see if this pioneer is followed by any more of its kind.  Good birding!

Nongame Bird Blog

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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