Bird Watchers 'Having a Hoot', Snowy Owl Sightings at Sachuest Point

Sightings of the snowy owl, native to the Arctic region, have been reported at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Bird enthusiasts are flocking to  in Middletown after several sightings of a Snowy Owl were recorded there. The Providence Journal reported that the bird has been in the area since December.

Shirley Lally, a six-year volunteer at the refuge, said the birds, usually native to the Arctic region, have been spotted from Connecticut up to Maine since Thanksgiving. She said the birds have been moving south because the food supply in the Arctic region is down, which she said might be caused by global warming.

Other common names for the owl are the Arctic Owl, Great White Owl or Harfang. Although the bird's native home is the circumpolar region, it is considered to be a nomadic species when fluctuations in its food source population force it relocate.

Lally said that despite the seaside location of the sightings, the bird does not feed from sea.

“They don’t dive for fish, they are not sea-birds,” said Lally. “They eat rodents and small animals. They are moving south, looking for food.”

Lally said there have been no reported sightings for a couple of days,  which she said is probably because of the weather.  

“They are smart birds," she said. "They hunker down during high winds."

Want to See For Yourself? 

  • The is hosting an “Owl Prowl” from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23. Reservations are required by calling  401.846.2577
  • The Audobon Society of Rhode Island has requested if you spot an Snowy Owl, to post it to their Facebook Page.

Bernadette Banville February 14, 2012 at 01:43 AM
He has been here since December, he did leave for a few days in January/storm related I assume, but sure glad he is back with us. I am a volunteer there and love getting phone calls about this guy. I do hope that when he must return to the tundra he will come back next season to visit, I know I will be waiting for him, maybe he can bring the family next year. :) { I named him "rocky" since when ever I have seen him, it has always been sitting high on his rock. }


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