Owls & hawks, hawks & owls… 12/30/13

I can’t help it. I love those birds of prey.

Several Snowy Owls have been seen at Albany Airport recently.

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This was by far the whitest Snowy I’ve ever seen, so most likely an adult male. When it was first pointed out to me it had its head turned 90 degrees away an it was indistinguishable from the rest of the snow lumps along the runway. I love the tiny devil horns! I don’t see that feature mentioned in the field guide descriptions but it shows in almost every photo I’ve seen this winter. One theory is that the birds this far south are food-stressed and have less body fat, so the ‘ears’ show more. I don’t know… the birds found dead or taken in for rehab are usually underweight, but does correlation imply causality? The RPI bird wasn’t lacking food — it was devouring crows regularly for several days —  and it had visible horns.

Further down the runway I saw this darker and probably younger bird.

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There was a third owl on the grounds that day, and a Short-eared Owl was reported too, but I missed them.

A pair of resident Redtails enjoyed the sun.

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Then I circled around to the other side of the airport, scanning a swirl of Horned Larks for a few elusive Lapland Longspurs. (Winter plumage is not as striking as the breeding male in the link.) No luck there. I really do like birds that hold still…

 

 

 

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Categories: Bird photos, Field trip, OMG bird | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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