Snowy Owls Sighted Again In Wisconsin

As of Nov. 2, snowy owl season is underway across Wisconsin despite mild fall weather. One individual was found in Dane County in mid-July and regularly spotted into mid-October, marking a very rare case of an individual successfully over-summering in the state. The first likely migrants were spotted on Oct. 19 in Superior and atop the observation tower at Rib Mountain State Park in Marathon County. Another was photographed in Ashland on Nov. 1.

These are the only new arrivals reported anywhere in the lower 48 so far, aside from one along the international border in North Dakota. Eastern Canada has seen a notable shortage of observations so far, while farther west, a few owls have moved into the Canadian Great Plains.

What does this mean for your chances of spotting a snowy owl in the winter ahead? We don’t know yet. Predicting the movements of snowy owls is difficult due to limited information on prey availability and nest success at their remote breeding sites in the Arctic. November is typically the most telling of what numbers the winter will hold, so by month’s end, we should have a better idea of this year’s outlook.