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Arctic Views of Snowy Owls From Barrow, AK

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July 23, 2014

Male Parent Delivers Lemming to Owlet, Female Parent Looks On

Once the young leave the nest when they are about 25 days old, they are fed entirely by the parents for at least another five weeks. Here we see the almost entirely white male delivering a lemming. After around 5 weeks after leaving the nest the young can begin to hunt for themselves. They are probably partly fed for at least another week or two while they are still poor at hunting. As you can see this owlet still has some grey downy feathers. Spending a month on the ground close to the nest, their appearance changes quickly. Plumage around the eyes and beak turns lighter. Black and white speckled wing covert feathers become noticeable. You can see these feathers when the owlet stretches its wings. Flight and tail feathers grow daily. By the time they are six weeks old, the young start looking like adults with black speckles and some remaining downy plumage, mainly on the head. The tail feathers take longer to develop than the flight feathers. Once these are developed the young should be able to start flying.  

July 17, 2014

Did 'Dad' Heron Breed Successfully After All?

This morning we saw 'Dad', a second adult and a juvenile on the pond. The juvenile landed in the same tree as Dad for a short time, then flew close to the second adult. This could be two parents and their offspring. Dad may well have bred successfully elsewhere this year. It would explain his great fishing efforts this season. Perhaps he was taking the fish away to young on a nest nearby. There are several ponds to the North of Sapsucker Woods, he could have established a new nest site after the loss of the nest on the pond at the Cornell Lab. Thanks to TN Tuxedo for the great video. 

July 16, 2014

Owl Research Institute Scientists Return

Just before 10AM AKDT the Owl Research Scientists returned to the nest site to survey the area and find the remaining owlets. Two banded owlets were found and appeared healthy. The adult Snowy Owls flew and landed close to the scientists. 

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