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> Stowaway Owl
John Wright
post May 22 2006, 02:12 PM
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I am a teacher at D.H. Conley High School and learned of your journey from Sue Purser. Sue alerted me to your photos based on my bird knowledge.

The stowaway is definitely a Long-eared Owl (Asio otus). Long-eared owls are migratory, so it would not be out of the question to find one that had lost its way. Many land birds will seek shelter on ships when caught on the open ocean.

The only question might be the origin of the bird, since it is found in Eurasia as well as North America. Eurasian land birds headed north frequently show up on the Aleutians, the Pribilofs, and St. Lawrence during May.
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Samantha_Dassler_Barlow
post May 22 2006, 09:48 PM
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Hi Mr. Wright,
I am very pleased to have your interest! Thank you for your ornithology expertise and input. It seems that most of our off-ship resources are in agreement about the identification of the owl. I think there is still one person questioning whether it is a certain species of screech owl. There is no way for us to know the genetics of the bird to figure out if it is from North American stock or Eurasian stock, but that is a question that has been raised.

We have been very close to St. Lawrence Island and Russia and have not seen the bird in the last few days. It was definitely an interesting occurrence and it brought out many stories from the crew of "rafting" from the US to other destinations.

Thanks again, and I am glad to have you as a reader.
Sincerely,
Samantha Barlow
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