I was excited to have a student tell me she found a road killed Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) near her house because we just don't get them around here all that often. So when she walked in carrying a big box I assumed I was about to have a snowy owl in my hands. Well...it looks like this student will need to take my spring ornithology course because when I open the box I see, not a snowy owl, but a Barred Owl (Strix varia). Pretty cool anyway but a pretty common owl for this area. The bird is in nice shape and from the wing feathers I think it may be a young bird. There appears to be some contrast between the primary coverts and the greater coverts and in some of the primary and secondary flight feathers. Once I'm done with it, I'll take it downstairs to our animal handling classroom and put it in the freezer. Hopefully someone will find the time to make a study skin.
Tonight is the November version of the continuing series "Birds and Beers" at Merlin's Rest in Minneapolis. Hope the turnout is good.
Sounds like we have a shot at some real snow this weekend. If the predictions are right I'll have to break out the shovel for the first time this fall. If it does hit us pretty hard that should push stuff into feeders in bigger numbers than I am experiencing now.