As of January 16, an estimated 240 Snowy Owls ( Nyctea scandiaca) have been found in 65 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties since the first arrived on October 20. The only counties lacking reports include Buffalo, Florence, Forest, Lafayette, Menominee, Walworth, and Waupaca.
Have you seen a Snowy Owl in one of these counties in Wisconsin this year? Please take a few minutes to report your sighting at www.ebird.org/wi. For sightings outside of Wisconsin, report at www.ebird.org. This year’s total for Wisconsin is much higher than that found the past two winters, but on par with totals from the winters of 2013-14 and 2014-15.
The influx of new birds has greatly diminished (less than a dozen in the past week) but of note is the arrival of a few more strikingly-white adult owls. Photo credit: Ryan Brady/WDNR
Open areas are the best places to see Snowy Owls. Hotspots include agricultural areas of Columbia County, Buena Vista Wildlife Area, the highway 29 corridor from central to western Wisconsin, the Fox Valley from Green Bay through Freedom to Appleton, the Ashland area, and various fields and lakeshore points along Lake Michigan.
Last but not least, Project SNOWstorm is now tracking two tagged owls in Wisconsin. Be sure to check out this recent podcast on all things Snowy Owl featuring DNR Bird Monitoring Coordinator, Ryan Brady.
The above article was paraphrased from an article in a WDNR update report from Ryan Brady, NHC conservation biologist, Ashland County, published January 18, 2018. To stay up-to-date on Snowy Owl activity in Wisconsin follow WDNR Snowy Owl.
See also Ryan Brady’s Snowy Owls Photo Gallery. Great photos!