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Photographing Great Gray and Northern Hawk Owls in winter

©2010 Richard Chamberland
©2010 Richard Chamberland

Michigan winters can often be memorable events. Tales of white-out-style blizzards, radiator-freezing temperatures, and even seasons with no snow are retold each time a new winter begins. For us, the winter of 1992 will always be remembered as the winter of the invading owls.

The unusual event commenced in November of 1991 when we began hearing numerous reports of Northern Hawk Owl sightings in scattered locations throughout Minnesota and eastward into northwestern Ontario. In normal winters one or two Hawk Owls wander from their Canadian boreal forest homelands and turn up, to our delight, in our neck of the woods in northern Michigan. But the impressive number of sightings throughout the Midwest seemed to be a portent. Was this the start of an invasion year?

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