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CHS Pics | Snowy owl makes visit to 11th Ave, has dinner — UPDATE: Rescue

(Image: @laurenhonaker with permission)

Looks like we’re going to need our CHS Aviary expert Melissa Koosmann to be available for breaking bird news. Monday night, CHS found a flock of neighbors enjoying the show as a snowy owl made a meal of  what appeared to be a seagull near 11th and John.

One resident of the area said he first saw the bird hours before our 7pish visit straddling the fresh kill near the sidewalk outside the apartment building at 11th and John. Through the night, the big owl managed to move the carcass farther into the recesses between the building as neighbors mostly kept their distance and took pictures of the relatively rare sighting.

While barred owls make areas around the Hill their permanent homes, the snowy owl is a seasonal visitor to an area as far south as Seattle. We’re assuming this one was just passing through but we’re sure Melissa can tell us more about the likelihood of such a creature making the Hill its full-time winter home. The last sighting on the Hill of a snowy owl that we’re aware of was this one captured in pictures in January 2006

Thanks to @bethundra for the owlish tip.


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8 years ago

I was high as a kite on cold meds and this whole scene was very confusing to me as I struggled to load the car with the last of my items from my old apartment. At one point I stumbled out with an armful of dirty laundry to find my mom chatting with Dan Savage and this owl just going to town on the gull and hissing at people who got too close.

8 years ago

While the circle of life is mostly cruel, Owls rock. Thanks for this post.

8 years ago

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I honestly can’t make a good prediction about how long this owl will stay on the Hill. I can, however, say that snowy owls are semi-nomadic at this time of year–which means it’s unlikely that it will stay for very long. These owls probably base their movements on food availability, but biologists don’t fully understand how they make decisions about where to go, or when. They usually hang out in semi-wooded areas in Canada and the northern US, but they occasionally range as far south as Texas.

I can tell you that this owl is likely a young one. Older owls stay in the arctic year-round, but the younger owls aren’t skilled enough hunters to live through the arctic winter.

Snowies are diurnal, so look for it during the day. I, for one, intend to run out tomorrow morning to try to see this one before it moves on.

Here’s a cool PBS documentary on snowy owls:

–Melissa Koosmann

el pablo
8 years ago

…are not what they seem.

Vincent Lucas
8 years ago

Having just moved to WA from FL, I haven’t been lucky enough to see a Snowy Owl here, but, believe it or not, I have seen it in Florida — the furthest South in the continental US ever recorded. Yes, further than Texas!

8 years ago

Everyone has seen Labyrinth right? This is obviously just David Bowie.

8 years ago

The owl (or David Bowie) is still there, as of 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. –Melissa Koosmann

8 years ago

The owl was already on the sidewalk, wing spread over the gull’s body, around 5pm.

mr. Kelly A. Forsythe
8 years ago

Update: At Ten thirty this lovely Tuesday morning, while I was taking really fantastic pictures, while alone with Miss Snowy Owl,Mr.Will Miller,of Sarvey Wildlife Care Center,greeted me with a “Goodmorning Sir,I’m just here to pick up this OWL.” He moved in quickly with a medium sized brown terry cloth towel to cover her head and pick her up. She was only slightly upset and did try for ‘lift off’ but did not seem able. Shortly after picking up, she seemed calm, wrapped in her towel.’Wildlife-Will’ performed a brief Medical Field Test of her body,looking and feeling along her wings gently with his fingertips, as he expanded each wing, one at a time. He also felt on & around the top of her head and above her ‘brow area’. He stated that she is indeed a young female who “is quite emaciated.” No wonder she showed no interest in leaving her Seagull meal since it provided more than two servings ! Also, it is believed that she may have been too weak for flight at this time. At this time,it is too soon to tell why or if there are any other issues to address. Now she is on her way now to have a full Medical Exam at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center located in Arlington, Wa., “a bit up the road,” toward her likely Northern Home. This young female snowy Owl is now in the “right hands”.. And as I live on the corner of 11th E. and East Denny Way, I was afforded the luxury of checking on her through the night and into the morning hours. I also managed to get some awesome close up of both birds, the prey and the predator as it were. Also, a fabulous picture of her in the arms of her rescuer. Obviously to us both, she is quite exhausted from the circus of people who gathered to look. I’m hoping, no one ‘inspired too much hissing’ because it obviously wiped her out. I’ve very nice documentation photos if anyone is interested let me know. “Thank you” Melissa, for the lovely conversation earlier in the morning. ‘Cheers’ to ALL,
Be well,& say a prayer for our OWL Girlfriend’s Health and Well being. (All that remains now are the entrails and half eaten body of the Seagull and the feathers that went flying every which way during the kill. Got interesting pics of the Gull too.)
Truly, mr.Kelly A. Forsythe *Anyone can message me

8 years ago

A neighbor tipped me off yesterday morning he was on top of a building at Republican and Malden. So I grabbed the camera and ran – saw the crows before I saw him – they were very intent on trying to chase the owl off. Couple pics here if you’re interested:

8 years ago

I love, love, love Sarvey Wildlife Care Center and what they do for our injured wildlife around here.

Arleen Tripp
8 years ago

Heard about this magnificent owl from my pal Kelly F. and was able to go over the pics. she is such a beautiful animal, I named her chloe, it felt right at the time. I can’t get over how amazing she is,many blessings for her recovery,and thanks to all who worked to get her the proper care.

8 years ago

I love that documentary, thanks for the post!

8 years ago

David Snowie.