My First Snowy Owl

   Tonight while sitting in the treestand, I was lucky enough to see my first snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus. After settling down to wait for a deer to wander in to the corn, I began watching the birds that were eating the corn. The usual birds were all out: eastern towhees, northern cardinals, white-throated sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, Carolina chickadees, and an occasional mourning dove. After I had been settled down for about fifteen minutes, I gazed out at the horse pasture adjacent to my property. I had often imagined a snowy owl sitting out in the middle of the pasture with a mouse clutched in it's talons. Though I had often imagined this and though it just as good a place as any for a Snowy Owl wandering through Ohio, I never expected to actually see one. But tonight I was lucky enough to do just that. I saw a large bird (bigger than a red-tailed hawk) fly out of the pasture up towards the treeline. It turned and headed straight towards me (west) for a short distance, and then turned south. As it turned, it's wings lifted and I saw the bird clearly: It was the unmistakable white peppered with black that comes from only from two species. The snowy owl, and the gyrfalcon (but it was the former). Unfortunately, I did not have a camera as I was hunting. But I will keep an eye out for it's return, and I will have my camera handy.

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