Jan 14, 2014
02:05 PM
Connecticut Today

Snowy Owls Rule Connecticut Roost; Audubon Celebrating With Photo Contest

Snowy Owls Rule Connecticut Roost; Audubon Celebrating With Photo Contest

Bill Batsford

A snowy owl at Hammonasset, in a photo sent to the New Haven Register.

It’s the season of the snowy owl in Connecticut, as “snowies” have “irrupted” in the Northeast this winter, according to the Connecticut Audubon Society, “invading in good numbers and providing a rare spectacle that is delighting birders and underscoring the region’s connectedness to events above the Arctic Circle.”

In honor of the rare phenomenon, making sightings of these majestic hunters almost routine in some Connecticut shoreline towns, the Connecticut Audubon Society is looking for help in celebrating and raising awareness about the snowies.

Birders and anyone else is invited to enter the society’s Snowy Owl Observation Contest by sharing their experiences and photos. A first-prize winner will be chosen and receive $300, and there will also be two $100 honorable mention prizes. (Above, a photograph of a snowy owl taken in December at Stratford Point by Anthony Zemba/Connecticut Audubon Society.)
 

Entering is as easy as submitting a photo, video or written piece about seeing a snowy owl. “Be as creative as you’d like. At the end of the season, we will pick a $300 grand prize winner and two $100 honorable mentions,” the Audubon Society says.

Submissions posted to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the #CTSnowyOwl hashtag will automatically be published on Connecticut Audubon’s website.

Here are some tips and guidelines offered by the Audubon Society:
•       Don’t forget to include where and when you saw the bird.
•       If you’re submitting a photo, don’t limit yourself to close-ups: a shot of a landscape with a Snowy Owl in the distance would be great too!
•       If you haven’t seen a Snowy yet, it’s not too late. Snowies have been seen across our shoreline, including at our Milford Point Coastal Center; the beaches and marshes in Stratford; Long Wharf in New Haven; and Great Island in Old Lyme.
•       It is very important that you take photos from afar, to avoid disturbing the birds. The best locations are often where you see other birders gathering to observe.
•       If you’re not a social media user, you can email your submission to tandersen@ctaudubon.org, and we will post your submission for you.

At the Milford Point Coastal Center, one and sometimes two birds have been feeding and roosting, Audubon said in a post online. Snowy owls have also been seen in Old Lyme, West Haven, Hammonassett State Park, Falkners Island, Stratford, Bridgeport and Westport. In nearby New York they have been seen around Jamaica Bay, on Jones Beach, Robert Moses State Park and on Fire Island.

Connecticut Audubon Society employees and their families aren’t eligible to win, the society notes, saying, “but we hope they’ll enter anyway.”

 Winners will be chosen at staff discretion, and decisions are final.

Meanwhile, the snowy owl is also getting some attention inland in Connecticut, where snowies will be the subject of the presentation White Birds: The Gyrfalcon and the Snowy Owl
with Brian Bradley 
on  Jan. 18 at noon at the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield.

The owner of Skyhunters in Flight, Bradley “soars into the Conservation Center with two of his most beautiful birds of prey,” White Memorial says of the program. “What characteristics define these two winter hunters? Wallow in the extraordinary experience of getting up close and personal with this great man and his amazing birds!”

The cost of the program is $20 for White Memorial  members and $25 for non-members. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.

For more, see the events section on the White Memorial website.

 

Snowy Owls Rule Connecticut Roost; Audubon Celebrating With Photo Contest

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