SNOWY OWLS RETURN TO CLEVELAND
January 22, 2020
With their snow-white feathers and bright yellow eyes, snowy owls (Bubo scandiacus) are nothing short of magical. While they spend the majority of the year in their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle, they migrate 2,000 miles south where they can be seen for a few months in the winter around the icy shores of Lake Erie.
Species: Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Where to Look: Whiskey Park, Fairport Harbor, Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland Hopkins Airport, East 9th Street Pier, Lorain Harbor, East 55th Street Marina
What to bring: Binoculars or spotting scope, a thermos with a warm beverage
What to wear: Warm clothing
Other migratory species to look for: Bufflehead, Bonaparte's gull, tundra swan, Iceland gull, common loon, snow bunting, long-tailed duck
While most owls are nocturnal, hunting at night, snowy owls are diurnal, hunting prey during the daytime. The best places to see them in the greater Cleveland area are the open, flat areas of our local airports as they most resemble their native hunting grounds of the Arctic tundra.
In fact, with cutting-edge tracking technology, scientists from Project SNOWstorm track the movements of snowy owls in astounding details for years at a time. Researchers have found that the snowy owls that visit Cleveland are seeking open water for hunting diving ducks around Lake Erie for weeks or months at a time, giving us a glimpse into the lives of these incredibly beautiful Arctic birds.
What are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars and go birding! For more information, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds page. Stay up-to-date with current Arctic bird sightings by downloading the e-Bird app or start your own account at ebird.org.