It's Snowing Owls!

It\'s Snowing Owls!

A huge flurry of snowy owls has migrated from their northern breeding grounds this year. They’ve been sighted all across southern Canada and as far south as Texas.

Even non-birders are being rustled out of their warm living rooms to take in the rare appearance of large numbers of snowy owls this winter. Normally migrating from their breeding grounds in the high Artic south to Canadian border areas, the National Audubon Society is reporting sightings throughout the US Midwest and as far south as Texas and even Hawaii.

Irregular migration

Ornithologists are reporting that this year is one of the biggest irruption years ever for snowy owls, beautiful raptors that stand two feet tall with five-foot wingspans. An irruption is a dramatic, irregular migration of large numbers of birds to areas where they’re not usually found.

Experts worry about implications

Such an unusual spike in snowy owl sightings is a boon to birders and even tourism, but ornithologists worry about the implications. Most often, irruptions occur when lack of food drives birds to new and more plentiful hunting grounds. This year, however, the snowy owls’ preferred food—lemmings—were in plentiful supply.

Experts believe this unusually plentiful supply of lemmings drove snowy owl reproduction rates higher, leaving overcrowding and competition at the typical wintering spots and driving young owls to new and unusual wintering grounds.

Snowy owls in overall decline

It’s an ironic twist given concerns about overall declines in the numbers of snowy owls. And ornithologists have no idea how this year’s sudden spike in population will fly given the pressures on their food supplies and normal breeding grounds.

Birders beware

Whatever the outcome, the experts remind us to take our binoculars—and our common sense—if we plan to spend a little time in nature to look for snowies.

Related Stories


Caught in the Middle

Caught in the MiddleHelp for the Sandwich Generation- Twenty million American adults are caring for aging parents at the same time they\'re raising young children. Known as the Sandwich Generation, the

The Importance of Senior Fitness

The Importance of Senior Fitness- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), exercise and physical activity are some of the best things older adults can do to stay healthy. Even moderate ex

Grandparent Getaways

Grandparent GetawaysTrips to take with your grandchildren- \"No parents allowed.\" It\'s not a sign on a kid-only clubhouse, it\'s the first rule of travel for memory-making grandparent/grandchild vacatio

Comfortably Aging in Place

Comfortably Aging in PlaceHaving lived in the same ranch house for 55 years, John Heck’s grandparents wanted to make any and all necessary accommodations to allow them to peacefully age in place. Usin

Aging with Vitality, Grace and Confidence

Aging with Vitality, Grace and ConfidenceIt’s one of the great ironies of life: Your reward for surviving the tumultuous teen years, establishing a career and nurturing a family culminates in dry skin

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription Costs

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription CostsFor 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, the New Year means any new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans, or any changes to your existing pl

Popular Categories