September 25, 2012

Learn about the elusive Snowy Owl

Saturday, September 29 Lecture

Saturday, September 29
FREE 5 pm Lecture by Dr. Jean-Francois Therrien

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary's Senior Research Biologist Dr. Jean-Francois Therrien will present “Snowy Owls of the Canadian Arctic,” a free, 5 pm lecture and slideshow on Saturday, September 29 in the Visitor Center Gallery. During the talk, Therrien will share his first-hand accounts, photos and findings from the five years he spent tracking the movements of this ghostly and unpredictable avian predator of the north.

The talk and slideshow iis part of the Sanctuary’s annual Autumn Lecture Series, which features talks held at 5 pm in the Visitor Center gallery that are free of charge. The series is designed to share the latest in scientific wildlife research and natural history findings in an informative yet entertaining format.

Dr. Therrien’s talk will cover the bird’s biology, the culture of the local people, the landscape of the Arctic, and the results of his satellite telemetry work which he said were surprising.

“We found that Snowy Owls are completely unpredictable, perhaps more so than any other bird I know,” he said.

“They don’t actually migrate at all, but move anywhere and everywhere. For example, one year we had 20 to 40 nests over a 100 km square region, and then the next three years we had none,” he explained. 

Therrien continues his work as a collaborator on this long-term research project, which is part of a 20-year study of the raptor. He also has been invited to collaborate and advise on a new study by the National Fish and Wildlife Service to replicate the work with Snowy Owls in Alaska.

Two additional lectures will be held in October and include:

Pennsylvania’s Breeding Birds
Saturday, October 13—Dan Brauning, Chief of Wildlife Diversity,
The Pennsylvania Game Commission
Thousands of hours of surveys over six years have resulted in Pennsylvania’s Second Breeding Bird Atlas, available later this autumn. Brauning will share an insider’s view, and point out the surprising changes in our state’s wild bird populations, including a dramatic decline in ruffed grouse, a shift in horned larks, and an expansion of many big-woods birds.

Epic Journeys: Tracking Shorebird Migration
Saturday, October 27—Shawn Carey and Jim Grady, Migration Productions
Naturalist, wildlife photographer and videographers Shawn Carey and Jim Grady will share the making of their latest video, which looks at three shorebird species-Red Knot, Piping Plover and Semipalmated Sandpiper—and the challenges each face during their monumental annual treks. Includes jaw-dropping images and video clips.

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