Monday, January 30, 2012

Unusual Circumstances lead to Changes in Typical Behaviour (DetroitFreePress)

A young snowy owl is recovering after it was found injured in Muskegon. / SUSAN TUSA/DETROIT FREE PRESS

Bird rehabilitator Dody Wyman of Manchester works with an injured snowy owl on Tuesday. The young male was found in Muskegon. His eye injury is nearly healed, but he cannot be released into the wild again. / PHOTOS BY SUSAN TUSA/DETROIT FREE PRESS
The bird Wyman is rehabilitating is about 8 months old. He likely will have a permanent home at an Ann Arbor nature center with other raptors that can't go back into the wild. The birds are used in educational presentations.
Snowy owls -- majestic, 2-foot tall creatures normally seen in the Arctic tundra -- are showing up all across lower Michigan this winter as an unusually large number of the birds have flown farther south in search of food.
With their regal pose, piercing yellow eyes and fluffy, feathered legs, the owls are an unexpected winter attraction.
The owls are showing up in places they aren't always seen, exciting birders and non-birders alike. They've been seen in many spots in lower Michigan, and some have made it as far as Texas and Hawaii.
Jerry Jourdan of Wyandotte hiked 6 miles last Sunday to photograph one at Pointe Mouillee State Game Area in Monroe County. From a distance, he saw a white lump on the ice, resembling a plastic bag. When he got closer, he could clearly see it was a snowy.
"It was an absolute thrill," he said, even though it was not his first. Two weeks ago, he saw another snowy owl on top of a light pole in Harrison Township, and he has photographed the white creatures in northern Michigan in the past.

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