Snowy Owls & an Owl Prowl in the Hilltowns
Here in Massachusetts, we’re experiencing an abundance of snowy owls this winter! Known scientifically as an irruption of snowy owls , the uptick in population of these beautiful birds is due to an abundance of lemmings in northern Quebec, providing them with more than enough food during the breeding season. While the birds are most common in the coastal portions of the state (in particular, as many as fifteen at a time have been spotted at Logan Airport), they can be spotted here in western Massachusetts as well.
Identified by their striped feathery chest, back, and head, snowy owls are well-camouflaged in a winter landscape. Though they stand nearly two feet tall, the unique coloring of their feathers allows them to visually become part of their surroundings. Unless you look closely, it would be easy to miss such a bird amongst the snowy leafless trees of a local forest.
To learn how to spot a snowy owl, join the Trustees of Reservations and local author Jane Yolen at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA for an Owl Prowl! Held from 7-8:30pm on Friday, January 24th, the event will include storytime and a short moonlight hike on Petticoat Hill to search for snowy owls. Jane Yolen will read her Caldecott Medal-winning and much beloved book, Owl Moon. In the story, a father and daughter venture through the woods by dark, quietly searching for signs of owls. The daughter, who narrates, describes her trust for her father to lead her through the dark as well as the rich sensory input she experiences – everything from the crunch of snow and smell of frosty air to the echo of a train whistle and the eventual rush of owl wings through the night.
Due to limited space at the library, all participants will need to RSVP before the event. Those who are not on the RSVP list will be welcomed on a first-come basis. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-628-4485 ext. 4.
This event is a unique opportunity, not only for the opportunity to learn how to spot owls in the winter for yourself, but for the rare chance to hear a prolific children’s author read one of their best-loved books in person!
[Photo credit: (cc) Dave Inman]