We finally spotted our first Snowy Owl of the season – on Center Road just north of Old Mission Tavern.
I Googled around a little, but have not been able to find out whether owls return to the same place year after year. So I don’t know if this is the same owl we see on this stretch of road year after year.
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However, last year we spotted our first owl of the season in this same spot on Jan. 13, 2020 (see photo here). The previous year, we spotted our first owl, again in this same spot, on Jan. 29, 2019 (see photo here).
Other good owl-spotting sites over the past few years include Winery Hill (the overlook by Chateau Grand Traverse) (see pics here and here) and Blue Water Road (see pics here, here and here). I had almost given up on seeing one on Blue Water Road last year, but then spotted one on March 13, 2020.
According to this page at Audubon.org, Michigan is at the southern end of where Snowy Owls generally migrate each winter from their Arctic tundra. On the Old Mission Peninsula, you will usually see them perched high up in a tree, like the one in this story, or on top of a phone pole or roof.
And according to this interview at Audubon.org, Snowy Owls are protected by law and are listed as “vulnerable” when it comes to their conservation status. In short, it’s good to give them a lot of space, which means if you are taking photos, stay a good distance away and shoot with a good zoom lens.
Below is another photo of this same owl yesterday (not my best photos, but my camera just was not cooperating and I didn’t want to get any closer)…
What struck me about this owl is how it perched on such a tiny branch in the very top of the tree. You wouldn’t think it would be big enough to hold him.
Have you seen a Snowy Owl on the Old Mission Peninsula yet this year? Do you know if they migrate from their Arctic Tundra to the same places each year? Tell us in the comments section below.