Denise Hughes - found the owl
Cheryl Huizinga, Tim Teal, Heidi Ware, Jay Carlisle, Bryce Robinson and others
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Canyon County, east of Wilder, approximately 1/4 mile north of the intersection of Peckham and Allendale Roads on Allendale Road
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Plowed ag field with ditches, near 2 onion packing facilities and 1 house.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
I watched the owl for 55 minutes. It was cloudy and 32 degrees. When I first saw the owl it was about 25-30 feet from me. After another birdwatcher showed up it flew to about 100-120 feet from the edge of the road.
Vortex binoculars, 10x42 HD
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Large owl with yellow eyes and a white face. Dark barring and spots on white feathers on front and back. Feathers extended down the legs and covered the toes.
Unknown as to juvenile or adult female.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
It was sitting on top of a ditch bank that ran parallel to Allendale Road. I was driving by when I noticed the owl and continued another 50 feet before turning around. I drove back towards the owl and parked. It looked a me several times but mostly it just sat on the ditch bank with its eyes closed.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
As I was driving past the bird I realized that a Snowy Owl was sitting on the ditch bank. The white face and yellow eyes and dark barring over white feathers clinched the id for me. Feathers extending down its legs and covering its feet also helped with the id.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Barn Owl - Smaller body and not as bulky. Heart shaped face with a dark eye. It has a pale face and chest but the wings and back are a darker brown.
I checked a couple of websites about similar species and Gyrfalcon was mentioned. The Gyrfalcon has a much different head and shape than a Snowy Owl. The falcon's wings are very different and the tail is longer than a Snowy Owl.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I have seen Snowy Owls several times. Once in Oregon and I saw the pair that was in Nampa several times when they wintered in Idaho. I have also seen and read many articles about this species after the Harry Potter series was made into movies.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding for 15-20 years. I consider myself an experience birder.