An Early Snow(y) in the Dunes?

Snowy Owl

Many folks don’t associate snowy owls (Bubo scandiacus) with Indiana, but the Dunes are the best place in the state to see these majestic birds. According to the Indiana Dunes Birding blog, this large white owl of the north doesn’t visit Northwest Indiana every year, but when they do, they inspire a thrill among birding enthusiasts who flock to see them at locations such as the Port of Indiana and the Michigan City pier. In the Dunes, their numbers usually peak around mid-November, but in good years some birds can be found throughout the winter. On Sunday October 25th, my son spotted this beautiful snowy perched on a fishing boat while we enjoyed a family walk on the beach in Dune Acres. I reported the encounter to the Indiana Dunes State Park and was pleased to learn that it was the very first snowy sighting of the 2015 season. eBird, the real-time, online checklist program, recently posted a story about the anticipated irruption of snowy owls. Only time will tell how many of these majestic birds will migrate through NW Indiana this year, but if this early sighting is any indication, it could be a snowy winter in the Dunes.

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