While not quite at Nature Boardwalk, there have been reports of snowy owls at Montrose Harbor, just a few miles north of Lincoln Park Zoo.
A snowy owl swoops down onto a boat dock at Montrose Harbor.
I recently took a quick trip up there on a lunch break to try my luck. Sure enough, I saw my first wild snowy owl.
Spotting a snowy owl in the city is a rather rare event. Over the last few weeks, though, sightings of these beautiful flying predators have been increasing in eastern North America. Three to four owls have been seen around Montrose Harbor.
Every once in a while this species has an irruption year. Irruptions are similar to migrations but unpredictable in nature. They can be caused by a lack of food or extreme weather patterns in the species’ normal wintering range.
Three or four snowy owls have recently been sighted at Montrose Harbor.
If you have never seen snowy owls in the wild, pay a visit to Montrose Harbor and scan the boat docks. You just might see one of these magnificent birds. If you strike out, you’re not too far from the zoo, where you can see two of them at Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit.
Mason Fidino is coordinator of wildlife management for Lincoln Park Zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute.