“the Great White Owl” of Lancaster County, Pa

 Unprecedented numbers of Snowy Owls have taken up residence in the mid-Atlantic region this winter. Maybe you’ve read about this phenomenon….or seen TV clips. Whether it is a scarce supply of Arctic food (lemmings) sending them south in search of mice and voles, or the more recent explanation that the Canadian population is actually burgeoning due to a hugely successful summer breeding season, the result is the same. These amazing creatures are HERE and it is tremendously exciting!

Three of these beauties were found yesterday in Lancaster County, Pa….an hour from home. It didn’t take me long to rationalize ditching my errands this morning and driving west on I-76. While happily tailgating a slow-moving horse and buggy along a road which bisected a vast expanse of corn fields, I saw a large white distant blob to my left. I turned into the next driveway signposted “Weaver’s chicken farm” and put the binoculars up. It was a Snowy alright. But I wanted a closer look…even better…a printable photo.

At that moment I noticed the property owner looking at me from his front porch. Since I was already trespassing, I braced myself for a negative encounter. Quite the contrary. “Are you looking for the Great White Owl?”, he asked in a cheery, inquisitive tone. I had his blessing to venture into the field and soon enough I was lying on my stomach on wet corn stubble, attempting to capture a printable image of this gorgeous juvenile male. Snowy Owl (New Holland, Pa)
After clicking off three dozen or more shots, I sensed company. I looked up and three generations of Weaver family (I counted twelve humans) were standing behind me, patiently waiting for me to offer them a look at the bird through my binoculars. For a moment I thought I was a character in the 1980’s movie “Witness”.

An hour later I was stuck in traffic near the King of Prussia Mall. But that didn’t bother me. It gave me an opportunity to scan the retail store rooftops….you never know where “the Great White Owl” may appear!

About George C. Wood

A birder since age ten, but not necessarily an avid "lister", I am closing in on 700 (*800!) species seen in North America.....hoping to capture each sighting with my camera.
This entry was posted in Quest for 700 (*800!). Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to “the Great White Owl” of Lancaster County, Pa

  1. Douglas Southgate says:

    This brings back a great memory, George. When I was in college, the word went out that a Great White Owl was camping out in the sand dunes west of Tillamook, Oregon. I wasn’t even a casual birder then, but joined a friends who headed out to see the bird. He was there, waiting for us!

  2. Wendy says:

    George, you have captured an incredibly heart warming character in your photo of this wise looking owl … Could be my favourite of the blog to date!

  3. Ziesing, Peter R says:

    Great story George! Keep it up – best, Zies

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. ANNE WOOD says:

    Why didn’t you take me with you! Mom

  5. Michael Selverian says:

    George, So cool. Your photos are always amazing. You are lucky the Weavers don’t shoot first and ask questions later! Mike

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Jan 19, 2014, at 12:20 AM, birdtalesblog wrote:

    WordPress.com George C. Wood posted: ” Unprecedented numbers of Snowy Owls have taken up residence in the mid-Atlantic region this winter. Maybe you’ve read about this phenomenon….or seen TV clips. Whether it is a scarce supply of Arctic food (lemmings) sending them south in search of mice “

  6. Arlin Green says:


    Arlin S. Green Centura Capital agreen@centuracap.com (610) 574-5215

  7. Andrew Mozino says:

    WTF are you doing up at 5am on a Sunday??? soliciting classmates???Drew

  8. Deborah Glass says:

    George! That is so cool. I want to see one. Beautiful!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Deborah E. Glass 610-999-6031 (c)


  9. Dorothy Weisbord says:

    Great bird. Great day, George. Many more in 2014.

  10. Tom Mason says:

    An AWESOME bird !!!

  11. John L. Cox says:

    GW – NICE! – Great White Owl – a most aptly named bird – great pic. Cheers…JLC

  12. Jim Buck says:

    A passionate birder with a pretty fair camera lens, too. You’ve become quite the story teller, as well, Woody! (A book, and not just annotations of your photos, is DEFINITELY in order.)

  13. Bill Herbert says:

    I am loving the blog George and am rationing the older entries since I find them very entertaining. Your photos are amazing. Great seeing you last weekend. “Herbie”

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