Friday evening I had the joy of attending “The Story of Seabrook the Snowy Owl” held at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests Education Center at Creek Farm in Portsmouth. The event was cohosted by Jane Kelly, On the Wing wildlife rehabilitator, and photographer Johnathan Herrick. Johnathan presented a slideshow of beautiful images of Seabrook. He has been chronicling the Snowy’s adventures since first arriving in December. Topics covered at the meeting also included rodenticide poisoning, how to ethically view Snowy Owls when they are on our shores, and Floki, On the Wing’s resident owl ambassador.
Johnathan and son Maverick
You may recall from several previous posts that Johnathan rescued Seabrook as he lay slowly dying on the beach, unable to fly. Seabrook had consumed a rat or mouse that was dying from rat poison (the horrible black boxes filled with rodenticide that some folks are unfortunately so fond of using). He was suffering from secondary rat poison and hemorrhaging massively. When Johnathan arrived, Seabrook was trapped between a seawall and the incoming tide and was on his way to being washed out to sea.
Seabrook was so far gone when he was rescued, no one, including Jane and her staff, thought he would survive. After a six-week stint at On the Wing raptor rehab center, Seabrook made a full recovery. A wonderful release event attended by several hundred onlookers and fans was held in March. Seabrook flew magnificently over the crowd, toward the tree line, and then to the shore.
On my way to and from the program, I drove along the scenic route to New Hampshire, not expecting to see Seabrook, but there he was, spending the afternoon sleeping peacefully in the sun before heading out to hunt.
Seabrook is basically a very chill bird however, that doesn’t mean we should get close when photographing or observing. Please stay at a minimum of two hundred feet, please don’t try to get close with cell phone cameras, and folks with super zoom telephoto lens, have no reason to come close. When people bring their lawn chairs and park themselves all day next to a Snowy it is so stressful to the bird and totally uncool.
Some tips for Snowy watching:
Stand at a minimum of 200 feet away.
Stay low and hide behind a shrub or tree, if possible.
Move slowly, and if with a friend or a group, speak softly.
Don’t park yourself for hours near a Snowy. Take a few photos and please MOVE ON.
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Jane brought along On the Wing’s ambassador Snowy Owl , Floki. Born in captivity, Floki’s behavior is nothing like a wild Snowy Owl nonetheless, it was wonderfully interesting to learn more about Snowies in general and about the captive owl and his quirky personality.
On the Wing is a citizen funded operation that saves over 400 raptors per year.
Donations can be submitted via:
On The Wing
47 Prescott Rd.
Epping, NH 03042 .
To learn how you can help owls, eagles, and other raptors from succumbing to rodenticide poisoning, follow this link: PROTECT MASS. BIRDS OF PREY -Decrease Rat Poison
On my way to Portsmouth, I stopped at HamptonBeach to check on the Plovers there. It was great to see that New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has cordoned off the Plover breeding habitat and has posted a number of signs.