11/29/17 Snowy Owl Capture & Release

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

While looking for Snowy Owls along the Jersey Shore, I stumbled upon Project Snowstorm in the process of a capture and release of a NJ Snowy. After the capture, they fitted the owl with a solar GPS transmitter to track and study it’s behavior. This Snowy, named “Island Beach” observed the bait pigeon from a distance for about 45 minutes. Finally it launched and came in for the bait. They use a soft net that looks similar to a hockey goal and a bait pigeon fitted with a leather jacket for protection against the talons. Once it was captured they weighed the owl to make sure it was strong enough for a transmitter. It was a healthy juvenile male.  “Island Beach” seemed quite calm through the entire process, but I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled. Shortly after, it was released near the dunes. A second Snowy, “Lenape” was also captured later that same day. You can follow their journey on the Project Snowstorm website by clicking on the “Owls” dropdown tab. Keep an eye out for my next post with several Snowy Owl photos from this year’s irruption.

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Just prior to his release.


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The Approach

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Lightweight Transmitter

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  1. susan says:

    Love the portrait. I can’t believe that the handler didn’t have to wear gloves. I guess they’re pretty docile.

  2. That was quite a day for you! I love the photos you got, especially the first one. Island Beach is gorgeous! I have been enjoying the updates from Project Snowstorm. I am looking forward to hearing his story for years to come. Thank you Ray.

  3. Glenn says:

    Love the photos of the Snowy Owls! Well done, Ray! Happy New Year!

  4. Sacred encounters, Ray — when humans reach out to help creatures we otherwise have neglected and/or harmed all too many ways. Making amends. I love it. How blessed you were to be part of this! I swear that bird is smiling! And sometimes coy, even flirtatious! Amazing. I think the caring of the humans is transmitted to these special creatures. And YOURS! blessings c

  5. Michelle Kelly says:

    It’s such a treat to see all the wonderful east coast wild life you are photographing. This is extra special.

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