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Photo by Katharine Schroeder

Check out this big-eyed beauty. It’s a snowy owl hanging out on the jetty by Goldsmith’s Boat Shop in Southold this week.

Photographer Katharine Schroeder captured the shot, which Dr. Kevin McGowan of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology says is likely an intermediate bird, however he could not confirm whether it was male or female by the photo alone.

“There are a lot of them around, it’s a better year than usual,” Dr. McGowan said.

According to him, North Forkers are not in a bad area for spotting the down-feathered birds.

Cornell has created a website to track bird sightings, which so far has netted about five different sightings on the NOrth Fork, in Orient and Gardners Island. A number of other sightings was logged on the South Fork as well.

Dr. McGowan said experts don’t know for sure why these snowy owls are migrating south in such high numbers.

“Why they are doing that we don’t really know. One reason may be that it is a real big production year, the other is that it’s not so good up [north] and they are having a hard time finding food — or it could be both,” he said.

Either way, North Forkers will be enjoying their visit this winter season.