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01/29/2018 eNews
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Is a closer photo worth a Snowy owl's life?

Snowy owls and Short-eared owls journey south from the Arctic and northern Canada every winter. They arrive in the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA) seeking abundant populations of the mice and voles they depend on for their survival. 

Recent incidents involving photographers chasing Snowy owls in the area to get closer photos - and trespassing on private property to do it - have enraged both landowners and owl lovers alike. 

Flushing owls and other raptors causes them to waste energy they need for hunting and staying warm. If they lack energy to hunt they starve to death. 

A Snowy owl was found dead from starvation in the IBA last year. 

Flushing these birds can also lead to their injury or death from other sources. 

“We have a Snowy owl that was hit by a bus when it flew into the road to avoid photographers,” reports Wendy Hall, co-director of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehab Center. "We get birds every year that are starving to death because they don’t have energy left to hunt or forage for food," she added. 

A Snowy owl wintering in the IBA was found dead on Wednesday. He was found alongside the road, probably hit by a car. 

The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a warning last week: "Trespassing and harassing wildlife is illegal, is harmful to the birds and DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Forest Rangers will be patrolling the area and enforcing these laws."  

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Related Articles:

The Post Star: Officials deal with owl harassment in birdlands again
Albany Times Union: Some owl fans in Washington County need to step back
Albany Times Union: Visiting Arctic owl found dead in Washington County

Whoo Benefits from Grassland Birds?

A FIBA Program hosted by Fort Miller Reformed Church
Grassland birds benefit ALL of us. Unfortunately, the birds – and the grasslands they depend on - are disappearing from our countryside at an alarming rate.  Short-eared owls, Northern harriers, Eastern meadowlarks and Grasshopper sparrows are just a few of the grassland bird species who have seen their populations plummet by 70% - 90% or more! 

Join Fort Miller Meetinghouse and Friends of the IBA (FIBA) at 7pm on February 8th to learn about the birds and FIBA’s work to conserve their habitat. Presented by FIBA Executive Director Laurie LaFond. 
Location: Fort Miller Reformed Church; light refreshments will be served.
CALL: 518-499-0012 for more info
Read more

Upcoming Events: Winter Raptor & Owl Watch 

Join Friends of the IBA on a guided walk and tour to look for Short-eared owls and other wintering raptors! Likely sightings include Snowy owls, Rough-legged hawks, Red-tailed hawks, Northern harriers, Eastern bluebirds and more! Horned larks, Snow buntings, Short-eared owls possible. Group size limited; walk optional.
 Leaders: Laurie LaFond, Executive Director and Bo Harris, Trip Leader
Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 3:00pm; Call Bo to register (518) 677-3350 
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