[Tweeters] Snowy Owl Irruption video

Andrew McCormick andy_mcc at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 6 05:34:55 PST 2014

Hello Tweets,

I was in the Plymouth and Cape Cod, MA area for the ABA Rally during the first week of February and everyone was agog about the Snowy Owl irruption. We saw quite a few of them over the three days. Fortunately, I was there to remind them that we had seen many Snowy Owls during the past two winters in the Northwest. I grew up in MA and was very familiar with the areas where we birded but I never saw a Snowy Owl there, and I have to say it was pretty cool. They are fantastic birds no matter where they are seen. I also felt slighted that the Audubon Magazine article did not mention the irruptions in the west. I do agree there is an East Coast media bias, and probably a "birding research bias" as well. The main offices for National Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and soon the ABA are in the east. Jeff Gordon announced at the rally that the ABA is moving its offices from Colorado to Maryland, "to be close to the centers of decision making." This may be a good time to put in a word for the Western Field Ornithologists. They may be our best source of information on western North American birds.

Andy McCormick
Bellevue, WA

From: hal at catharus.net
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2014 15:15:31 -0800
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Snowy Owl Irruption video

Hi Tweets,

Following up on the comments about “East Coast media bias,” it’s pretty clear that what’s true for professional sports coverage is just as true for birds and birding, with a small exception for what Easterners call the West Coast (which as seen from New York extends from San Diego to a few miles north of Los Angeles). I remember how, about ten years ago, the then-book review editor of ABA’s Birding magazine — a Brooklynite, I believe — in an otherwise favorable piece on Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Seattle’s Lyanda Haupt, grumbled that the Varied Thrush could hardly be called ordinary. Ah, well, one mustn't expect too much from a part of the continent that has only one regular hummingbird.

Hal Opperman
hal at catharus.net

On Mar 4, 2014, at 2:28 PM, Barbara Deihl <barbdeihl at comcast.net> wrote:

> Thanks, Glenn, for pointing us toward this excellent video (question: how recently did this come out?). Just yesterday I received my Audubon magazine for March/April, with, among other interesting articles, a major one on this year's Snowy irruption on the East Coast, and including some research data that is now being generated from a variety of sources. I believe Dan Reiff recommended this issue a while back. One of you Tweets noticed, in a Wash. Post article on this subject, that NO mention was made of the irruption winters we had here in 2011 & 2012, and I noticed the same thing in this Audubon article. Maybe it is, as the Tweet suggested, an "East Coast media bias". I'm thinking that perhaps it could also be that no or little serious scientific data was collected during our West Coast experience. Any thoughts on this? Maybe it would be worth contacting and asking Saul Weidensaul, the author of both articles, about this issue. Certainly there was awareness of our recent West Coast Snowy Owl phenomena?...

> I'm sure that at least some of what Paul Bannick has observed, photographed and learned, as shared in this video, should be a welcome addition to the combined data bank on these owls, along with observations of others, whether scientists, citizen scientists, birders, photographers, 'regular' citizens. There is a lot of movement and fund-raising afoot to follow the movements of some of the owls with radio transmitters, e.g. Project SNOWstorm - for more info and updates, see the Audubon article and the project website: projectsnowstorm.org

> Let's combine our resources and help all of us learn more about these appealing and fascinating "Messengers from the Arctic". Data-exclusivity seems counter to real progress in advancing our knowledge-base of birds and our environments. What with all of the tools we now have available to us to more quickly and competently learn more about the inevitably-interacting parts of nature I hope that we can continue to minimize competition and instead embrace more collaboration between all of the species that exist here together on this earth. Our fate is in all our hands.

> I'd love to end this message with a bit of humor, like: "What did the Snowy Owl say to the lemming?" - problem is I can't come up with a quick finish to this joke. :-) Feel free to submit a humorous answer or your own topical bit of humor. It's one of the necessary ingredients to survival of the human species, don't you think?


> Barb Deihl

> North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

> barbdeihl at comcast.net _______________________________________________

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