Snowy owl sightings delight upstate NY birders

January 27, 2009

Associated Press - January 27, 2009 6:14 PM ET

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Biologists say an increase in the number of snowy owl sightings across upstate New York suggests that the arctic species is doing so well on its northern breeding ground that competition is driving the young ones south.

Rarely seen south of northern Ohio, snowy owls have also been reported this year in Kansas and Missouri.

A biologist at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation says the state typically has an influx of snowy owls every winter. But he says there seem to be more than usual this year, and they arrived earlier than normal.

The Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club's online discussion group has had numerous postings on snowy owl sightings since mid-November, including one that roosted for several days atop a building in downtown Albany.

Unlike most owls, the snowy hunts by day. Its white plumage makes it easy to spot.

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