Date: 1/21/18 6:59 am
From: Scott <pygmyowl...>
Subject: [cobirds] snowy owls
Hi all,

I have been thinking about the Snowy Owls that have been seen in
Colorado, and am thinking that most, if not all of them have been seen
near open water. The one at Stanley Lake, the one that Nick Komar saw
near Carter Lake etc.

At least the one at Stanley Lake did not appear to be feeding on the
waterfowl, but rather small mammals that it was catching in the meadows
around the lake. (I did hear that the owl did catch a pigeon, but that
was not confirmed).

Now the owls that are at Boulder, also at a lake.

If the owls were at these bodies of water feeding upon waterfowl, there
would be piles of feathers found, but that does not appear to be the case.

Therefore,  my guess is that the Snowy Owls are near the water simply to
bathe. By bathing they can keep their plumage clean, which will
subsequently keep the birds in good feather condition.

If there had been a significant amount of snow on the ground, the owls
would be able to "wash" themselves by using snow; but due to the lack of
snow, the owls need to use water to clean themselves.

It will be interesting to see if the owls move away from these bodies of
water as the snow falls.

Just a thought,

Scott Rashid
Estes Park

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