Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Snowy Owl in the City of Snowy Philly

Once a City Owl, Always a City Owl.  

I have a bit of bad news...
sad news actually. 
Philly died. 

Philly With His GPS Tag
©Scott Weidensaul, Project Snowstorm

Philly was the name of a Snowy Owl. 
One of many that have come south 
in what is called an irruption. 
(Irruptions do not happen often, 
this is the first one in decades according to Project Snowstorm.) 

The snowy owl sits in a Lancaster farm field waiting for wildlife photographers to spot it.
A Country Snowy Owl
Lancaster, PA

Philly was one of several snowy owls 
to be tagged with a gps transmitter 
so that his movements could be tracked. 

He was hanging out at the 
Philadelphia Airport, 
a dangerous place for an owl. 

The snowy owl sits in a Lancaster farm field waiting for wildlife photographers to spot it.
Snowy Owl Basking in a Sunny Field
Lancaster, PA

When he was captured and tagged, 
Philly was relocated to the farm fields of Lancaster. 
But that didn't last long. 

Once a City Owl, Always a City Owl.  
Philly returned to the airport. 
Unfortunately, before he was recaptured, 
he collided with a plane.

Philly's Movements Around the Airport
Project Snowstorm

I am so sad as I had been tracking Philly's movements 
 posted online at Project Snow Storm.  
 I didn't make it down to see Philly to see him. 

You can learn more about 
Snowy Owls and the gps project at Project Snowstorm
You can also view reported sightings of Snowy Owls at

Sorry about the overly cropped and sharpened photos. 
I am not typically a wildlife photographer 
and only had a 200mm lens and the owl was far from the road. 
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EG CameraGirl said...

How sad! Yes, there is an irruption this year. Snowy owls bred extremely successfully this year and at the same time their favorite Arctic food (lemmings) were scarce. So the snowies have traveled southward in search of food. What a sad story about Philly!

Suburban Girl said...

I was so excited to see one. And so sad to hear this news report.

~JarieLyn~ said...

OMG that is so sad. He was so gorgeous. I hope he died instantly.

Kerry said...

Ohhh noooooo. This makes me so sad. I've been reading about the snowy owls. You are lucky to have seen Philly when you did, but I know how sad you must feel. :(

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

What a gorgeous owl! So sad that he collided with a jet. Sure hope he didn't suffer!

Sarah Huizenga said...

So sad. We have been having the problems with Snowy owls at our regional airport as well. They are such beautiful creatures.

Hootin Anni said... was beautiful. But such a sad tale.
Thanks for linking up at the Bird D'Pot this week.

Hootin' Anni
Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'

MadSnapper said...

so sad, i just read this to bob and he said the owl was like bob is. he does what he wants when he wants and said i will die happy . he said Philly died doing what he wanted, being a city owl. heart breaking story

aspiritofsimplicity said...

that is a shame. We have one here in my town in MA. as well. They are all over the place this season so i suppose it is to be expected that not all of them will make it. Still though, it is rather sad.

Out on the prairie said...

Most that come down are juveniles and have a high mortality rate. A real beauty to see.

Anonymous said...

oh sad. I have never seen a white owl. He was beautiful. Maybe another mate will take his place. Lets hope.

cedarmerefarm said...

Oh Rebecca, that is so sad! What a beautiful owl. He looked so sweet and innocent. Christa

May said...

Gorgeous bird. Wish he had preferred the country.