[Tweeters] Snowy Owl in Queen Anne

Eric Mandel ericmandel at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 7 18:27:12 PST 2020

Hi tweeters, as someone living a few blocks away from the one our new "resident" snowy owl stays, I'd like to offer a few thoughts. First, although she (?) has been in other locations nearby on Queen Anne, this owl does seem to have narrowed its daytime roost to this one block - though it has chosen several different houses and even locations on the same house. (Sometimes the best views are from the alley a half-block west, sometimes from the street itself on 1st Ave W. just north of Boston St.) As a result, on any given day the view can be partially obscured by chimney/roof features or in contrast spectacular in direct light with full body exposure. There are almost always birders around during daylight hours, so you're likely to be tipped off if you visit.

Fortunately, the owl (so far) hasn't appeared very bothered by the attention. It typically flies in early twilight (or sooner) to one of a couple of the tallest trees in the immediate area (especially one a half block south in the alley), and is still typically quite visible - and magnificent if you get to see those wings in action! While I too am sensitive to having too many people crowd it, I feel that the interest and educational opportunities - especially for the children I've seen - outweigh the risk. (The owl of course stays high enough to be well out of reach of anyone.) I can tell you that no neighbor I'm aware of is upset at the respectful visitations, in fact two are painting a scene honoring the visit on a garage in the alley. This is a dense urban area and this owl has other choices, we are indeed fortunate to have her presence.

My advice: 1) Always come wearing a mask over your mouth and nose, a basic sign of respect to your fellow birders.
2) Try to avoid coming in late afternoon/early evening and especially weekend days, when there are definitely more crowds (and I simply pass up the chance if I see that happen). Ditto for bright sunny days.
3) If you do drive here, simply be respectful of local parking regulations and you will find a place to park. (There's a parking lot very nearby used for the middle school just a block south on 1st Ave W.)
4) Unfortunately, we are still at peak pandemic transmission rates. Please be mindful of the need to socially distance even outdoors while wearing your mask!
5) As anywhere else, please respect private property and keep your voices down.

If everyone does these simple things, there will be enough joy to safely share as we appreciate this gift of nature. Thanks, Eric Mandel

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