Date: 3/4/17 8:03 pm
From: Joshua Rose <opihi...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Great Gray Owl near Northampton! (belated report)
Hi MassBirders,

I’m a little hesitant to post this, as the Arctic owl species seem to be magnets for those birders and photographers who routinely exhibit the worst behavior imaginable. However, the information is already out on eBird and FaceBook, and I tend to suspect that MassBird subscribers are far more ethical and conscientious in their treatment of birds and habitat than humanity in general. I also tend to think that the best protection for birds and habitat from abominable human behavior is to have as many ethical birders present as possible, so that some of them will speak out when they see someone misbehaving, and if necessary call the authorities. So anyway…

David Pritchard filed an eBird report on Wednesday, February 22. One of the species he reported was a Barred Owl, with photos. However, Saturday afternoon, raptor aficionado Brian Rusnica looked at the photos, and, well, they don’t show a Barred Owl!

It sounds like several birders, including Brian, visited the report area today after the word got out, but did not find the bird. It also sounds like access to the area is fairly sketchy, involving dirt roads, possibly private roads, snowmowbile trails, and potentially requiring walking an indeterminate distance across swampy terrain. Combine all that with the bird not having been seen since it was photographed three days ago, and people wanting to see a Great Gray are almost certainly better off going for the New Hampshire bird. However, given that this one is in our own state, I’m sure at least a few people will opt for the less likely local target….

Good birding!


Joshua S. Rose, Ph.D.
Amherst, MA

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