My good friends and fellow photographers Rick Small, Brian Shults out in the Smoky Mountains name the big whitetail bucks. Faye Sykes and Bill Lea name most of the known black bears. Only fitting since I don’t have a national park in my backyard I try and name a few of my “finds”.
Now that I have spend more time with my snowy owls they have unique features and behaviors and have decided I would name the Snowy Owls of Central Illinois.
Meet LP Paulie:Sorry for the heavy crop but it is the only usable image of Paulie I have. Paulie is the most famous of our central Illinois Owls and has been hanging around El Paso for going on 3 weeks. He hangs out in the MIDDLE of two larges squares and I have yet to catch him closer a road than a third of a mile. Paulie is a second year young male. He doesn’t even like cars to stop let alone when people get out of their cars. Please respect these owls and stay in your cars and use spotting scopes and binoculars!
I have chatted with the two landowners where Paulie hangs out. They have found half eaten rabbits, all kinds of dead birds, and owl pellets everywhere. Paulie is healthy, strong and growing! Please let’s keep it that way.
Which brings me to MC Beauty:
We lost a young man this summer to a drunk driver. Michael Collins, in honor of him a group has started #MCStrong. To go along with that and to honor him, and because this bird is somewhere in McLean County; I have named this male snowy owl MC Beauty.
After talking with several farmers in the area this is Beauty’s third winter in our area. The local birders and photographers have sworn to try and keep Beauty off of eBird and so far, knock on wood we have. Beauty is used to cars and farm machines. As long as you stay in your cars you will be able to enjoy him at a much closer distance. Beauty is a 3 year Male. Next year he should be completely white!
There are two more female owls hanging out near Minonk. I believe one of them to be a returning female from last year after talking to my bird guys that drives 90-100 miles a day birding. I just have been having too much fun with my eagles and these two owls to drive farther North to photograph the Minonk Owls.
Barbie is a first year female snowy owl. I named her Barbie because the dark feathers on the females are called barring or barred.
I was a little disappoint to learn that last season’s Snowy Owls in Lee County didn’t just happen. Let me try to explain. The Illinois Department Of Natural Resources captured over 30 Snowy owls from O’Hare and Mid Way airports and moved them a safe distance to Lee County. I thought this was the first good flat open land with plenty of feed and they just stopped there. Wrong they were planted!
Rainy and crappy light today, and yet I feel compelled to go check on Paulie and Beauty. Tomorrow back on Eagles, Monday back to work.
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Thanks for stopping by, Life is good, and I am blessed!
Nice pics Kent. Thanks for sharing and providing us with a little background on these birds. I do try looking for them while I drive through farmers fields however I believe what I see is white plastic bags snagged by the dormant or dead vegetation.
Thanks John, I have been “fooled” by many a bag blowing in the wind so I feel your pain!