HT-N: Rescued snowy owl turns out to be male, not female

The Hendersonville Times-News reports in Friday edition that a DNA test of Tundra the snowy owl, grounded near Rosman thousands of miles south of its breeding grounds, has revealed that “she” is actually a “he.”

“Most of us, including me, thought the bird was a female from the beginning, but I had my suspicions,” said wildlife rehabilitator Carlton Burke, who rescued the owl Dec. 9 and has been nursing him back to health in Mills River.

Adult male snowy owls are often completely white, to help camouflage them in their normal arctic habitat, while females sport distinctive barring on their feathers. But immature snowy owls of both sexes can have barred plumage, Burke said, making their gender harder to ascertain.


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