Tracking snowy owls in the Garden State
A project that traps and bands snowy owls with transmitters managed to grab a pair of the beautiful arctic creatures last week at Island Beach State Park.
David La Puma, of the New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory, says transmitters help them to learn a lot more about this strikingly beautiful little bird.
"We still know precious little about them. And we do not understand why the birds are as far south as they are, or how well they do."
It is called, "Project SNOWstorm," and it is a collaborative effort by volunteers, scientists and volunteers to trap and attach tracking devices to snowy owls and then release them into the wild.
"This is a project to study a big eruption of snowy owls into the lower 48, an unprecedented number of snowy owls coming south in the winter," La Puma said.
He says it is a large volunteer effort, bringing in technologists like Cellular Tracking Technologies' Michael Lanzone, who builds transmitters for tracking animals.
La Puma says the transmitters help scientists track the snowy owl and learn about their lifestyle.
The more we learn, the more we can help with the bird's survival, he said.
"So not only do we get to track them for the rest of their lives and understand what they do, when they do it, where they do it, and how they live, but we now get to look at two owls in the same location and see their interaction, which is also somewhat unprecedented as well."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5