Snowy owl invasion puts natural resources professor in spotlight

20140109SnowyOwlPaton has appeared in the Westerly Sun and Providence Journal and on Rhode Island Public Radio, and this week he was interviewed for a report on the owls on the CBS Evening News.

“Snowy owls are highly visible, they’re active during the day, and they’re charismatic, so their appearance in our area has generated some excitement,” he said. “And they evoke a lot of interest because of their role in the Harry Potter movies. It’s almost a mythical creature that has come down from the North.”

Standing 2 feet tall with a 5-foot wingspan, mature male snowy owls are pure white, but younger birds have gray barring on their white plumage. It’s the immature birds that Paton says have been arriving in the area in large numbers.