A snowy owl (not the one in the photo above) was confirmed in Kent County, Md. Saturday. The bird is from the Arctic.
In the big, snowy owl irruption year of 2013/14, I believe the first snowy owl to show up in Maryland was in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Annapolis over Thanksgiving weekend of 2013. More followed, including the one in Calvert County (below), the one on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the one at Sandy Point State Park, the one known as DC Snowy Owl and others. So, this one in Kent County is early.
Some are wondering if it’s another big irruption year, if it’s related to the number of birds born in the Arctic over the summer or food availability in the Arctic. There’s limited research on all of those questions, but the Owl Research Institute is a good source. For why they do travel south, read this post.
Because of the pandemic, the Owl Research Institute was limited in their research this summer with breeding season studies, but according to this post, “It’s safe to say we’ll never give up hope, yet this year would not see those hopes realized. 2020, a year marked by so much turmoil in the world, has also marked a disappointing breeding season across our 100 square-mile study site. Denver sent back early reports of an unusually quiet tundra – most obviously void of researchers, but also of the many species who also follow lemming waves: pomarine jaegers, foxes, and glaucous gulls, for example.”
The bird in Kent County, Md. has moved from the location documented in eBird. I know this, in part, because I went to look for it late Saturday and didn’t find it. It was relocated (spotted again) by someone else, but I’m not sharing the location I was given – this out of concern for the owl.