Daily Archives: February 13, 2014

Our New South Bergenite Column: Snowy Owls

Mike Girone snow29Jim Wright, who runs the Meadowlands Nature Blog for the New Jersey Mead0owlands Commission, also writes a twice-monthly column for the South Bergenite. His latest is on the Snowy Owls at DeKorte Park, and features photos by Mike Girone:

Earlier this month, DeKorte Park experienced an unprecedented event. Four — count ‘em, four — Snowy Owls flew out onto the ice for visitors to enjoy.

Few New Jerseyans have ever seen a Snowy Owl, let alone four, for one simple reason.  Snowy Owls fly south from the Arctic in the winter only occasionally in search of food, and when they do, they gravitate toward areas where they are difficult to see. They are used to barren tundra, where trees are far and few between,  and they tend to seek out similar habitat when they fly south.

This winter has been a record-setting season for Snowy Owls in the United States — one was even seen in Bermuda — and the Meadowlands’  iced-over mudflats and closed landfills are providing a wonderful home away from home for them.

Another big attraction: “There is plenty of food in the Meadowlands for them to prey on,” says NJMC Naturalist Mike Newhouse. “We know they like to eat waterfowl and animals like mice and rabbits, which are found in abundance here.” Continue reading