In tonight’s episode of the Perpetual Notion Machine, Lincoln Tice wants to know why there’s been such a surge of Snowy owls in Wisconsin, and Madison, this winter. So, he talks with Matt Reetz, Executive Director of the Madison Audubon Society. Normally, Snowy owls don’t migrate this far south into Wisconsin from their breeding grounds in the far northern arctic tundra during the summer. But from spotters and bird watchers, estimates indicate that at least 200 have been seen in Wisconsin so far this winter. According to Matt, the consensus speculates that last summer had unusually high breeding numbers known as an irruption. The owls spotted in Wisconsin are young juveniles from this brood, flying further away. Also, Matt discusses and describes Project Snowstorm. This is independent research that the Madison Audubon Society has been part of to study the behavior of Snow Owls in nature by outfitting some with radio transmitters. One Snowy owl, called Arlington, was captured at Goose Pond in Columbia county just last week and outfitted with a transmitter.
You can follow a map of Arlington’s travels, and other Snowy owls, by clicking on the Project Snowstorm website.
Also of note: The featured image on this post is a picture of Arlington taken by photographer David Rihn for the Madison Audubon Society.