Seize your binoculars—snowy owl sightings in 2021 above common alongside Cleveland’s lakefront

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CLEVELAND – While a blizzard drifts from the west toward northeast Ohio this weekend, the Cleveland lakefront is in the middle of a blizzard of snow owls – one that a local photographer and naturalist with the Cleveland Metroparks said brought in four eye-catching lone owls.

Their seasonal arrival puts bird watchers on alert as a new year offers a new slate to capture these arctic wonders.

Typically, between one and two birds are sighted along the abundant food source area known as the Lake Erie shores in any given winter. But 2021 has so far been promising for owl watchers and curious visitors alike.

Jen Brumfield.

Local photographer and naturalist Jen Brumfield captured snowy owls along the lake on January 24, 2020.

“These snow owls keep getting better,” said Jen Brumfield, naturalist with the Cleveland Metroparks. “Last year we had a few visiting the harbor, but this winter’s four birds are definitely a highlight. This is slightly above average for Cleveland’s annual snowy owl show.

The largest disruption, a phenomenon that occurs when snow owls flood from the north to a specific area in the northeast and the Great Lakes regions in a century, was in the winter of 2013-14. according to data from the SNOWStorm project, a group dedicated to tracking snow owls.

Minor disorders occur on average every four or five years, with mega-disorders occurring once or twice in a lifetime.

Jen Brumfield.

Local photographer and naturalist Jen Brumfield captured snowy owls along the lake on January 24, 2020.

The seasonal distribution of the Snowy Owl is determined not only by the daily weather, but also by what food is available.

While on the lakeshore, the owls hunt gulls and ducks in abundance all winter and sit on waves and docks in the marina during the day.

According to Brumfield, visitors will need to bring binoculars for optimal visibility as they will blend in with snow and ice. Visitors should watch out for port canal markings, walls, port docks, and port signs.

“Edgewater Marina is one of the best places. East 9th Street Pier and East 55th Street Marina. They choose different seats during the day so we have to go out every day and try to move them. It’s a classic ‘Where’s Waldo'” owl quest “said Brumfield.

CONNECTED: The first snow owl of the 2020-2021 season has arrived in Cleveland