New Brunswick

Barn owl sightings near Grand-Digue attract birders

Bird watchers in New Brunswick have been in search of another species rarely seen in the province in recent days, with a barn owl sighted near Grand-Digue.

Southern bird "is not supposed to be here," says birder Alain Clavette

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      Bird watchers in New Brunswick have been in search of another species rarely seen in the province in recent days, with a barn owl sighted near Grand Digue.

      "There are some nesting populations in southern New York, so it's not really supposed to be here," said birder Alain Clavette.

      There have been only about six sightings of barn owls in the province in history and most of those were unofficial reports or dying or dead owls.

      "It's not a bird that is really well-equipped to be in our temperature in our climate," said Clavette.

      "We'll see what's going to happen to this one."

      Just last week, birders were in pursuit of a long-billed curlew, which hadn't been spotted in New Brunswick in 100 years or more.

      "[The barn owl] is not as much of a big deal as the curlew, but certainly a bird that will get all the birders right now to try to go see it," said Clavette.

      "I think it's going to be another star of birding in the next few days."

      "The barn owl is something that very often we see in books and illustrations about owls," he said.

      "It's going to be one of those very popular ones."

      Clavette says it has a big, white facial disc that is in the shape of a heart around it.

      The barn owl is nocturnal and has been spotted and photographed in a field off Route 530 as it was coming out to hunt in the early evening.

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