Snowy owl (Bubo scandiaca)

People tend to be fascinated by white animals - wolves, polar bears, whales and buffalo and tend to flock to see them over normal colored animals. Most likely because the white signifies innocence or purity.This year there is a big commotion over an abundance of snowy owls that are all flying south to the U.S. The white, two-foot-tall birds, normally live in the Arctic the rest of the year, and are known to fly south in large numbers every few winters in what is known as an "irruption".

But this year for an unknown reason there is a massive movement south of the snowy owls. The numbers are estimated to be about several thousand of them. They are being seen from Boston, to the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, Kansas, Vancouver and Seattle. In places where they have never been seen before such as Kansas and Missouri they have shown up in large numbers much to the delight of the local people who are flocking to see them. In Kansas 90 owls have shown up this winter and 40 in Missouri.

Speculation as to what has caused this large influx of owls to the states ranges from the fact that that last year was a really good breeding year with up to 7 chicks per nest instead of one or two which is more common. Another possible reason is that there possibly was a crash in the lemming population which is their main staple of food. But this has not been proven although several owls that have been found dead due to accidents did appear to be starving. But for the most part most of the owls appear to be healthy and well fed.

The owls are very popular because of their blinding white plumage and their piercing yellow eyes which is very beautiful to see. Another reason which is a delight for both children and adults alike is the fact that the snowy owl is the same species as Hedwig, the faithful companion of the fictional wizard Harry Potter.

The owls are showing up in both urban and suburban areas too. They have seen along highways, on signs and fence posts, and in other places where people can more easily spot them. Another common place they are showing up is at airports. This is because the airfields look like tundra and snowy owls tend to flock there, so they must be trapped and removed. One snow owl showed up at an airport all the way in Hawaii and was shot by federal officials who were afraid it would interfere with takeoffs and landings. It was the first snowy owl ever sighted in Hawaii.

Owl lovers and photographers both are having a field day this year whatever the reason for the influx of owls. They are making the most of what they suspect may be a unique opportunity.

VIDEO: Snowy owls hunting for prey to feed to young

Responses to "Large increase of Snowy Owls migrating to the U.S. this winter (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow I would love to See That, I live in Ohio and haven't see Any. But i did See one in Pennsylvania about 22 yrs ago, I thought it was a cat in my driveway till i scared it and it took off flying. It was awesome.

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