A Valley News Publication

In case one big post about snowy owls wasn’t enough …

Here’s another snowy owl sighting in Burlington. We have photos/videos from a snowy owl’s visit in Randolph last week.

Also, on that dictionary definition, I think you’re looking for entry No. 2.

Photo, video: Snowy owl stops by the Vermont Tech campus in Randolph

A snowy owl was spotted on the Vermont Tech campus in Randolph, Vt., on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. Photo courtesy Alliance for Vermont Communities – Alex Buskey.

Alliance for Vermont Communities shared these images from the Vermont Tech campus on their Instagram yesterday, and have allowed us to share them here as well!

Alex Buskey, who runs social media for the nonprofit, said he and his girlfriend were driving through the campus around 2:30 Sunday afternoon when they saw a group of photographers gathered, aiming their gear at a light post. From Alex:

We pulled over and watched for about an hour. There was a professional nature photographer there from Boston who’s Instagram account is @notquitestrangers. He’s the guy in our picture shooting the owl and said he should have photos ready in a couple weeks.


At the end of our time watching, the owl perked up, dropped from the post and glided toward a row of bushes along one of the buildings. It caught a small rodent and paused on the ground for a bit before flying to perch on another light post (caught on video).


The most incredible part was obviously the wingspan on the bird, and how incredibly silent it was while flying low to the ground in pursuit of whatever it caught in the bushes. Folks said it is an adolescent female who has been there for a while now.

Writer/educator/field naturalist Bryan Pfeiffer also has some high-quality photos at his blog, and Brenda Petrella shared more on Instagram:

BTW, as of Tuesday afternoon, the Randolph snowy owl was the only one reported to the website eBird within miles and miles of the Upper Valley for November and December of this year.

* * *

The National Audubon Society writes that Project SNOWstorm, a volunteer-fueled Snowy Owl-tracking organization, predicts this could be a big winter for snowy owls in North America, potentially similar to an influx of the creatures — referred to as an irruption — that happened in 2013.

Scott Weidensaul, one of the directors of Project SNOWstorm, says the clues point to a big irruption, but the group also fully admits there’s no way to definitively know how big it could be or if it will even happen at all. “There’s a little bit of voodoo and black magic in all of this,” Weidensaul says. Though Snowy Owl migration patterns are mostly mysterious, there have been some tell-tale signs that the birds are on their way.

Meanwhile, WMUR reports that several snowy owls have already been reported throughout the Granite State.

Photo by Greenfield Recorder/Paul Franz. Enhancements by yours truly.


What’s the Alliance for Vermont Communities, you say? The nonprofit was formed to block the proposed NewVistas project, which now belongs to a new legal entity, Windsorange LLC.

Good news: The people who rescued the Grantham owl came forward so that it can be released at the correct location

On Friday, we posted that officials were searching for a couple who rescued a barred owl after their car struck the bird on I-89 in Grantham.

Officials were thankful to the rescuers, who did the right thing by bringing the owl to an emergency veterinary clinic, who got the owl transferred to a wildlife rehabilitator. But Grantham Selectboard Chairman Sheridan Brown said they needed needed to talk to the couple again so that they could determine exactly where the accident happened and release the bird back at the same spot, increasing its chances at success back in the wild.

Thanks to your shares, bolstered by the awesome Missing Pets of the Upper Valley Facebook page, the rescuers came forward!

In an email exchange tonight, Brown said the couple — who is remaining anonymous — saw our post after Missing Pets shared it to their page. Ultimately the post was shared more than 230 times.

Brown said the owl will be released privately later this week. (Those details are not being made public to keep the event as low-stress for the owl as possible.)

So happy that this all worked out. Woop, woop! Or should we say, hoot, hoot! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here’s an example of what a barred owl looks like — although neither of the photos we have shared show the owl in question.

A barred owl perches in a tree in Massachusetts in January 2017. (Greenfield Recorder photograph)

Officials are searching for a couple who saved an owl in Grantham so that the bird can be released at the right location

An example of a barred owl. This photo was taken in Epping, N.H., in March 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)

A news release from the town of Grantham:

Key Info Would Help Get Owl Back Home

During the week of October 9, a barred owl was struck by a motorist in Grantham. These accidents can happen easily when owls are hunting mice and voles in the clear area offered by roads. They are a more frequent occurrence in winters with deep snow that makes hunting more difficult for owls.

The motorist and his wife did the best thing possible at the time of the accident. They stopped, discovered the owl was still alive, and took it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. In this case, the couple brought it to the emergency veterinary clinic in Lebanon, which relayed it to rehabilitator Catherine Greenleaf in Lyme. THANK YOU!

The owl’s prognosis is good and it will be released in Grantham in the near future. Returning it to the vicinity of the accident would be ideal, but we don’t know where the owl was hit. The couple who brought the owl to Lebanon was understandably upset, and provided neither their contact information nor location where the owl was struck.

The owl is a first year juvenile, so it was probably just establishing its territory (1.5 sq. miles on average). Returning it to that area will increase the likelihood that this bird will survive, nest, and reproduce in Grantham, providing natural pest control and a beautiful sight for viewers.

If you are – or know – the couple who struck AND RESCUED this owl, please contact me at (603) 289-3348 with the location where it belongs. This is NOT an attempt to collect any costs or impose any other liability—we just need a location for the bird’s release. You can provide this anonymously if my assurance isn’t enough (dial *67 ahead of the phone number).

Please note that the release of this bird will not be a public event, as crowds increase stress to wildlife. I’ll share some photo and/or video updates of the release when it occurs, however. You can learn more about barred owls here.

Thank you, and please do not hesitate to contact me anytime I may be of assistance.



Sheridan Brown
Bird Enthusiast … and Chairman, Grantham Board of Selectmen