Releasing Snowy Owl no. 26

On Monday, January 29, Norman Smith (director at Blue Hills Trailside Museum) carefully captured a snowy owl at Logan Airport (for the safety of the owl and the planes). The next day, he released it on Duxbury Beach.

Norman Smith with Snowy Owl

Snowy owls are attracted to Logan because the landscape resembles the Arctic tundra and there are plenty of rodents and waterfowl to eat. This was the 26th snowy owl he has relocated from Logan this winter.

After safely capturing it, he brought it back to Trailside to measure, weigh, and band it. The following day, he fed the owl then safely puts it in the car and heads to Duxbury Beach to release it.

To drive on Duxbury Beach you need a permit. If you do come, please read the signs and stay off the dunes for the safety of the beach and wildlife.

Duxbury Beach

Once at a good spot, Norman retrieves the owl. He has been doing this for more than 25 years and knows the best way to handle the owl. Before letting him go, Norman shared a few words about the owl, including that it’s a second year bird (probably born in June 2017). You can tell by its uniform feathers and no sign of molt.

Once released the owl doesn’t go far. Can you see him? He’s in the center at the edge of the beach just before the water.

Snowy Owl on Beach

You don’t have to brave the wind and cold to see a snowy owl up close. At Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, there are 2 snowy owls in the wildlife exhibit—they have been injured and wouldn’t survive in the wild.

Snowy owls at Trailside

How You Can Help

You can help support Norman’s work protecting and studying snowy owls by making a donation to the Snowy Owl Project.

16 thoughts on “Releasing Snowy Owl no. 26

    1. vance

      I hear that, yet the more we know, the better for the owls. Logan Airport is going nowhere – and this relocation is surely bound to continue. Relocation is far more complicated than a “here to there” methodology. It’s what these scientists *don’t* know that is cause for banding, and I guess I’ll have their backs for that.

      Reply
  1. DELIA FLYNN

    Wonderful video! I forwarded to my son who lives in Duxbury with his 3 little boys. They’ve already seen this snowy owl and were very excited.

    Reply
  2. Dennis

    if snowy owl visitations to wintery NE are indicative of the effect of global warming then I consider this one of the few good effects of global warming to the birding community.

    Reply
  3. John Dyer

    Terrific to see one of these treasures up close and personal. I went to West Dennis several weeks ago with Audubon to attempt spotting a Snowy Owl and although we did not see any owls, it was a rewarding experience to have a truly informed guide and about 60+ enthuiastic fellow bird watchers hoping for a lucky chance encounter.

    Reply
    1. Hillary T. Post author

      This time of year, the owls are not ready to fly north and since there is plenty to eat at Duxbury Beach, they should be fine. Of course, an owl may fly back to the airport and if they do, Norman will be there to retrieve it!

      Reply
  4. M. Heppler

    Why release it at Duxbury Beach and not somewhere north of Logan Airport like Plum Island, since this bird is presumably migrating back north, towards Logan Airport again, at some point once spring arrives?

    Reply
    1. Hillary T. Post author

      This time of year, the owls are not ready to fly north and since there is plenty to eat at Duxbury Beach, they should be fine. Of course, an owl may fly back to the airport and if they do, Norman will be there to retrieve it. Some birds begin moving north in early March depending on the winter so at the end of February, Norman will start releasing them north of the airport.

      Reply
  5. Geoffrey Hyatt

    This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. 26 owls from Logan this winter – amazing. Actually it is nice to hear that there are so many. Thanks to Norman for his careful work.

    Reply
  6. Joe

    Beautiful! Thank you for the wonderful work you do with the snowy owls.
    I hope there won’t be swarms of people at Duxbury Beach now looking for the snowy owls. In the past I have seen people coming to close to owls and stressing them even though they know better. I
    I have seen people with four foot lenses standing right in front of a tree that great horned owls had their nest with three owlettes. The word of owlette sightings gets out FAST!!! The photographers and crowds are constantly at the nest. The owls are hostages. I try my best to provide friendly information about stressing the owls to no avail.
    Unfortunately this stresses me as well. Sadly, I do not visit.

    Reply

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