© BRYAN EATON/Staff photo
A snowy owl is perched on a utility pole on Beach Road in Salisbury across from the entrance to Salisbury Beach State Reservation last winter.
After a banner season last winter, the snowy owls are back."These animals are constantly moving around and they don't stay around very long," Parker River National Wildlife Refuge visitor services manager Matt Poole said. "You may hear that there is a snowy owl or a pair of snowy owls that have been seen on Plum Island for maybe a week but it is very possible that those are not the same individuals. They come in and they move through, maybe moving further south to where they are finally going to be for the winter. But if they leave, there may be more animals coming in behind them."
The powerful raptors made wildly popular in the Harry Potter
novels and films, have already been spotted and photographed at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this week."It is typically not a resident bird, if you will," Poole said. "They are a very popular winter bird in this area. They are something that all the birders hope will be around. Given the huge number of them last year, contrast that with the year before when as far as I know there was only one sighted the entire winter. It is highly variable."
While exact numbers are not known, snowy owls were spotted in the area regularly from November of last year through May of 2014 and with their return this month, birders are hoping for another big year. But each year is different for the nomadic bird, said Poole.