Snowy Owl Invasion of USA
Snowy Owl Invasion Puzzles Scientists, Dazzles Enthusiasts
January 08, 2014 AccuWeather.com
Snowy owls have been spotted in the Northeast U.S., all the way down to South Carolina since early December.
Scientists aren't sure why the owls, who spent much of their lives around the Arctic Circle, have arrived in such large numbers.
It's a great opportunity to see a magnificent animal.
The owls, the largest in North America, do make forays into the Northeast but this year is different.
In New York there were 10 sightings in 10 days. This is just not the normal way of things.
There are two conceivable possibilities for the irruption, or rapid and irregular, increase of owls.
One is that they have a very high success rate in breeding this year over last year.
The parents tend to jostle them out of the nest.
The opposite possibility is that the normal food sources are disrupted and they have to travel farther south to find their food.
Either way, there are a lot more of them. They're just impressive. It's really cool.
They are adapted to spend the winter at the North Pole.
Snowy owls normally spend the winter on the pack ice and hang around the holes, waiting for a seabird meal. They also look for lemmings in the snow.
If the ice was more open, there may be more seabirds and hunting is more efficient.
It could also mean the food source is more spread out and the owls are unable to find enough to eat.
More snow in the region may mean the lemmings are harder to find.
Two things are clear: There are less ice and more stormy conditions in the Hudson Strait
between Baffin Island and the northern coast of Quebec.
Stormier conditions make sense for the owls' movement.
Snowy owl invasion
January 5, 2014 Birds spotted as far south as Florida
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SNOWY OWL, ALASKA 2013